12th September – Lecture: Flight Testing the SR-71 by Colonel (Ret) Rich Graham (USAF)

The RAeS Boscombe Down Branch invites you to attened the following Evening Lecture: Flight Testing the SR-71 by Colonel (Ret) Rich Graham (USAF)

12th September 2019

“SR-71 Blackbird, The World’s Highest, Fastest Plane”

“The most feared aircraft of the Cold War had no guns, bombs or missiles…it shot pictures!”

Although the development of the SR-71 began over fifty years ago, the iconic Blackbird still looks like a futuristic spaceship.  At an altitude of 80,000 feet and wearing pressure suits, its pilots, looking down at the curvature of the Earth from far above any other aircraft, certainly experienced some of what it was like to be an astronaut.

The SR-71 had an unrefueled range of around 3,000 miles, and its two Pratt and Whitney J-58 turbojets generated 68,000 pounds of thrust while guzzling its unique JP-7 fuel at 42,000 pounds per hour.  Developed by the renowned Lockheed Skunk Works, the aircraft used cutting-edge technology to cope with the high speeds, altitudes, and temperatures to which it was subjected while its cameras took high-resolution images of multiple targets.

No Blackbird had ever been lost to enemy action—the aircraft was simply too fast and too high up.  Even today, the SR-71 remains the world’s fastest and highest flying operational manned jet aircraft, setting a number of world records for altitude and speed.

Colonel Richard H. Graham, USAF (Ret), experienced the SR-71 from many angles—as a pilot, instructor, Squadron Commander, and Wing Commander.  His knowledge and access makes for a comprehensive presentation on the SR-71, including rare photographs.

Colonel (ret.) Rich Graham, flew the world’s fastest and highest flying aircraft, the SR-71 Blackbird, for 7 years during his 25 year Air Force career. He also flew 210 combat missions in Vietnam as an F-4 fighter pilot and Wild Weasel pilot. His many military awards include 3 Legion of Merit medals, 4 Distinguished Flying Cross medals and 19 Air Medals. Rich speaks with authority on the SR-71 having been the Squadron Commander and 9th Wing Commander of this Top Secret reconnaissance program. Rich is a respected authority with an incredible depth of knowledge on the Blackbird. His truly amazing stories enthrall aviators and non-aviators alike.

After 25 years in the Air Force, Col. Graham flew 13 years for American Airlines. He retired in August 2002 as a Captain on the MD-80 aircraft. He has accumulated over 14,000 flying hours. He now keeps busy as an author, speaker, aviation consultant and flight instructor. Col. Graham has written five books on the SR-71 which will be available to autograph and purchase after the presentation.


Lecture Hall
MOD Boscombe Down
17:00 – Tea and Coffee available
17:15 – Lecture Starts

Are you pursuing CEng, IEng or EngTech status? Attendance at our lectures will help you meet your CPD requirements, and certificates of attendance will be provided!

Visitors Welcome – you do not need to be a member of the Branch, nor a member of the Royal Aeronautical Society, to attend. For further details, explore the Branch website.

External members or members without a security pass will need to declare their intention to attend this lecture through contacting us at boscombedown@aerosociety.com
by Friday prior to the lecture.

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