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March 09, 2008

An SR-71 Pilot Speaks [dri]


"One day, high above Arizona, we were monitoring the radio traffic of all the mortal airplanes below us. First, a Cessna pilot asked the air traffic controllers to check his ground speed. 'Ninety knots,' ATC replied. A twin Bonanza soon made the same request. 'One-twenty on the ground,' was the reply. To our surprise, a navy F-18 came over the radio with a ground speed check. I knew exactly what he was doing. Of course, he had a ground speed indicator in his cockpit, but he wanted to let all the bug-smashers in the valley know what real speed was 'Dusty 52, we show you at 525 on the ground,' ATC responded. The situation was too ripe. I heard the click of Walter's mike button in the rear seat. In his most innocent voice, Walter startled the controller by asking for a ground speed check from 81,000 feet, clearly above controlled airspace. In a cool, professional voice, the controller replied, 'Aspen 20, I show you at 1,742 knots on the ground.' We did not hear another transmission on that frequency all the way to the coast."

Above is an excerpt from a great article written by Major Brian Shul, on what it was like to fly the world's fastest plane, the SR-71 Blackbird AKA "The Sled". Please follow the link for an awe inspiring Sunday afternoon read.
Via Instapundit HT to kempermanx

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posted by xgenghisx at 02:27 PM

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