SR-71 Blackbird

Published: April 24th, 2016     
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Author: Paul F. Crickmore; Illustrator: Adam Tooby
Reviewed by: 
Frank Landrus, IPMS# 35035
Company: Osprey Publishing
ISBN #: 978-1472813152
Other Publication Information: Hard Cover, 7.7” x 5.4”, 160 pages
Price: $12.00

This is at least the second in this as yet un-named series from Osprey.  The first that I'm aware of was Spitfire by Tony Holmes published in the same hardback format in August 2015.  This appears to be a 'handy' size book that is possibly derived from earlier books by Paul Crickmore on the SR-71 Blackbird.  Paul Crickmore has quite a history photographing and writing about the Lockheed Blackbirds leaning on his time as an Air Traffic Controller in London.  Following the termination of the SR-71 program, Paul Crickmore produced a very detailed book, Lockheed SR-71: The Secret Missions Exposed that won praise from the aviation press, SR-71 crews, and the late president of the Skunk Works, Ben Rich.

The front cover features a painting of SR-71 61-7976 fling along the Korean DMZ when North Korea fired a SA-2 that missed the Blackbird on August 26, 1981.  The glossy photographs are well re-produced and in many cases full page. I counted eighty-two photographs, many in full color. There are many color illustrations to highlight points in the text, including temperature gradients, labeled cutaways, paintings, and profiles.  Paul Crickmore covers all the basics here, from development all the way through to where you can find the surviving Blackbirds now.

  • The Chapters include:
  • List of Abbreviations
  • Introduction
  • Chronology
  • A-12 Design and Manufacture
    • Manufacture (Page 16)
    • Layout and Stealth
    • Engine (Page 33)
    • Fuel System
    • Air Inlet Control System (AICS)
    • Internal Navigation System (INS)
    • Cameras
    • ELINT
    • ECM
    • Crew Survival Systems
  • A-12 Oxcart Operations
  • Losses (Page 44)
  • Vietnam
  • The Pueblo Affair
  • Tagboard and Senior Bowl, the M-21 / D-21  (Page 59)
  • Kedlock, the YF-12A
    • Outline Description
    • Preparations For Flight
    • Going Public (Page 76)
  • Senior Crown, the SR-71 u
    • Program Cancellation?
    • Flight Test
    • Attrition and Lessons (Page 89)
    • Operations
    • Yom Kippur
    • Detachment 4
    • North Korea
    • Program Termination
  • Flying the SR-71 (Page 109)
  • NASA Operations (Page 131)
  • Surviving Aircraft Histories (Page 136)
  • Appendices
  • Index

Lockheed's Blackbirds are one of the recognized aircraft ever built, with a high 'coolness' quotient for young and old.  What is really attractive about this book is its small size and is still hard bound.  Casual fans of the Blackbird will love this format.  Couple that with the retail price of only $ 12.00 and I think you have a winner here.  I can see this being an excellent gift to young kids who can read at an adult level.  I know when I was a pre-teen I would have loved this book.  My thanks to Osprey Publishing and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!

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