Lockheed Blackbird Beyond The Secret Missions

Published: November 30th, 2016     
Product Image
Author: Paul F Crickmore
Reviewed by: Timothy Gidcumb - IPMS# 40925
ISBN #: 9781472815231
Other Publication Information: Hardcover, 472 Pages
Price: $50.00
Product provided by: Osprey Publishing

From the Publisher

In 1986 Paul Crickmore's first groundbreaking book about the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird was published. At that time, the Cold War was at its height and the SR-71 was an integral element in securing crucial intelligence from all parts of the globe. The highly sensitive nature of its missions couldn't be compromised, and it wasn't until the end of the Cold War that the operational exploits of this incredible aeronautical masterpiece could be openly written about.

I was given the opportunity by IPMS and Osprey Publishing recently to review this book on the Lockheed Blackbird. This book has excellent details from the beginning of the program to the final disposition of the aircraft. This book is well written with many details and tons of pictures that I have never seen before and I have been a fan of the Blackbird since I was a child. If you are a fan of the blackbird or aircraft in general you will be amazed by the level of detail from the planes, the pilots, and the missions. If there is one book to have this should be it and would make a great addition to anyone's library. Below I have brief details of each chapter.

  • Introduction
    • A brief overview of the Blackbird family from construction, speed and altitude, the crews, and abilities of this amazing aircraft.
  • From Espionage To Aquatone
    • This chapter deals with the era of espionage after WW2 and the insight on the U2 and the government's plans to keep financing the need for a high altitude reconnaissance aircraft.
  • Rainbow And Gusto
    • This chapter goes thru the details of the programs under the chapter listed code names to select what vendor and the specs of what the A-12 would become eventually.
  • Oxcart
    • This chapter gives the accounts of the CIA program sponsored A-12 with the codename Oxcart with some great details on flights from the test pilots.
  • Area 51
    • This chapter gives detailed accounts of how Area 51 was transformed and brought up to date from the runway and facilities to some great accounts on some unwanted visitors they encountered over the time the program Oxcart was being carried out.
  • Upwind, Skylark, and Black Shield
    • This chapter deals with the programs Upwind, Skylark, and Black Shield which would lead to the first operational missions over Vietnam and Korea. This chapter concludes with the closing of Oxcart.
  • Tagboard And Senior Bowl
    • This chapter deals with programs put in place to begin the buildup of drones being tested and some details on Drone 527 which was launched against the People's Republic of China. This drone was either shot down or crashed which led to its capture.
  • Kedlock
    • This Chapter deals with the program named Kedlock which was spurred on by the earlier success of the A-12. This program was brought on with the idea of an interceptor version of the A-12 which would be the birth of the YF-12A.
  • Technical
    • This chapter deals with the technical details of this great aircraft. You get the enjoyment of learning about all the aspect of this aircraft from the materials that was used to how the suit that the pilots wore ended up being orange and why. This chapter includes some great detailed pictures of the many components of the Blackbird.
  • From RS to SR and beyond
    • This chapter gives details on the start of the R-12 project that eventually led to the SR-71. When the announcement was made by President Johnson many thought he said RS-71 for years until they later went back and found out he said SR-71, however the stenographer's transcript that was given to the press was actually transposed to RS-71.
  • Beale Operations
    • This chapter gives details on the operations from Beale AFB which was the home of the SR-71 operations.
  • OL8 to Det 1
    • This chapter details flights from 1968 to 1987 that was launched from Kadena AB, Okinawa covering North & South Vietnam, USSR, China, North Korea and Iran. With many details from the crew on missions flown.
  • Det 4 Operations
    • This chapter details operations from RAF Mildenhall starting in the early 70's until a permanent detachment started in 1979. This leads up to very important missions over the Barents Sea.
  • Squaring Up Over The Barents Sea
    • This chapter gives details on the missions over the Barents Sea which was critical to keeping an eye on the ballistic missile fleet of the Soviets.
  • NASA
    • This chapter details the relationship between NASA and the Air Force that begin in 1967 with accounts of the many experimental tests that where done using the SR-71.
  • Shutdown
    • This chapter details the political wrangling's that eventually led to the shutting down of the SR-71 program.
  • Patches
    • This chapter details in color and description of the patches that where worn by the Blackbird pilots.
  • Appendices
    • Nearly 50 pages of appendices include just about everything anyone might want to know. They contain an exhaustive list of "Detachment 1" missions to 1990; flights over Vietnam 1967-69; other deployments; A-12 and SR-71 check flights; disposition of each aircraft; wing and squadron commanders; chronology, records, and much more.

I would like to thank IPMS USA and Osprey Publishing for the opportunity to review this publication.

  • Insignia
  • Instrument Panels
    Instrument Panels
  • Sample Page 1
    Sample Page 1
  • Sample Page 2
    Sample Page 2

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <blockquote> <br> <cite> <code> <dd> <div> <dl> <dt> <em> <li> <ol> <p> <span> <strong> <ul>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Non-latin text (e.g., å, ö, 漢) will be converted to US-ASCII equivalents (a, o, ?).

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.