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In his book, "Sled Driver," SR-71 Blackbird pilot Brian Shul writes:

"I´ll always remember a certain radio exchange that occurred one day as Walt (his back seater) and I were screaming across Southern California 13 miles high.We were monitoring various radio transmissions from other aircraft as we entered Los Angeles airspace."

"Though they didn´t really control us, they did monitor our movement across their scope".

I heard a Cessna ask for a readout of its groundspeed.

"90 knots" Center replied.

Moments later, a Twin Beech required the same.

"120 knots," Center answered.

"We weren´t the only ones proud of our groundspeed that day.. as almost instantly an F-18 smugly transmitted, "Ah, Center, Dusty 52 requests ground speed readout."

There was a slight pause, then the response, "525 knots on the ground, Dusty 52".

Another silent pause.

As I was thinking to myself how ripe a situation this was, I heard a familiar click of a radio transmission coming from my back seater. It was at that precise moment I realized Walt and I had become a real crew, for we were both thinking in unison.

"Center, Aspen 20, you got a groundspeed readout for us?"

There was a longer than normal pause....

"Aspen 20, I show 1,742 knots"....

"No further inquiries were heard on that frequency"


In another famous SR-71 story, Los Angeles Center reported receiving a request from a "Blackbird" for clearance to FL 60 (60,000ft).

The incredulous junior controller, with some disdain in his voice, asked, "How do you plan to get up to 60,000 feet?

The SR-71 pilot responded, " We don´t plan to go up to it, we plan to go down to it."

He was cleared....
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