Friday, March 7, 2014

What it was like to be a SR-71 Blackbird pilot

There were two seats, fore and aft, with no visibility between. There was a titanium bulkhead between you and the backseat.

SH: Like, literally a wall?

RM: Literally, a wall. You have no visual, so you have to communicate over the intercom. After a while, you learn to anticipate each other just from the tenor in the voice


It was a Gemini suit, built for sitting. Very cumbersome. It was the same suit you'd see astronauts walking into the capsule in, except ours were gold.


Once we were coming down off the coast of California and letting down across San Francisco and hit this huge thunderstorm. We had to go down into it because we didn't have enough gas to go anywhere else. There was incredible turbulence as you penetrated the thunderstorm, and the aircraft is just bouncing viciously around. St. Elmo's Fire is just rolling across the canopy. It was kind of like the first scene in the original Alien. To get down, pop out the other side, and see our tanker waiting with gas was an incredible sight.