SR-71 pilot and RSO recall operating iconic Blackbird

Flying the Lockheed SR-71A was a team effort like no other in the US Air Force. In a unique joint interview, a pilot and reconnaissance systems officer who formed just such a partnership recall operating to the very edges of the envelope

"You’re going to be closer to the guy you fly with for the next four or five years than you are with your wife. You are a team”. Anyone fortunate enough to have been a US Air Force SR-71 crew member will vouch for the truth of that. Interviewing prospective candidates for this sought-after posting, the commander of the 1st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron emphasised it for a reason. Operating the ‘Habu’, as the Mach 3 reconnaissance aircraft was best-known to its crews, meant regular periods away from home and, to do the job successfully, a particular bond within the cockpit. The tour was carried out together, and if you didn’t gel, too bad. You had no option but to make it work.

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