Blackbird: The Fastest Spy Plane (Extended Cut) – SR-71

>> [Background Music] Learning occurs in many ways, reading, writing, observing and doing Montgomery College’s Access to History is for the doers Our guests have participated in actions or events that we now recognize as part of history In the studio, they sit down, mic up and have conversations with faculty and students from Montgomery College There is no host, no flashy set, and no commercials, just people and their stories Sometimes the stories date back many years and sometimes the story is current It’s all historical and it’s part of Montgomery College’s Access to History [ Music ] >> [Background Music] In this rare episode of Access to History, we leave the studio for the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center where student veterans who are part of Montgomery College’s Combat to College program got up close to aircraft that made history They also spent time with retired Air Force Colonel Joe Kinego who recorded over 900 hours piloting the famed Lockheed SR-71 “Blackbird” in military reconnaissance missions all over the world during the Cold War Traveling up to 17 miles above the earth at over three times the speed of sound, foreign powers tried to shoot down the Blackbird but none were successful Colonel Kinego’s presentation to the students during this visit contained information that at one time was top secret [ Music ] [ Silence ] [Background Music] US Military veterans now enrolled at Montgomery College were given a unique opportunity as part of the Combat to College program They were taken to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles Airport in Chantilly, Virginia The center is a companion facility to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum located along the National Mall in downtown Washington Home to about 200 aircraft and 150 large space artifacts, the building’s hangar-style floor area is as big as a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier Some of the most famous aircraft who have ever flown are here At the center of the entire facility is a plane unlike any other It’s painted black with a cartoon skunk on its tail Although it’s a military plane, it carries no missiles or bombs Its weapons are primarily cameras and incredible speed It’s the Lockheed SR-71 “Blackbird.” Retired Air Force Colonel Joe Kinego was one of its pilots On this day, he took the students in for a presentation that told its story [ Music ] >> [Background Music] First of all, welcome to Udvar-Hazy Center I want to congratulate you and thank you all for your service I know you’re retired– turning veterans, I understand, and all enrolling in college and that’s just absolutely fantastic I have always been a big believer that the military is a great place to get a start And then after that, when you kind of have a little bit of a feeling as to what you want to do with your life to go ahead and start your college education So, congratulations to all of you for that A lot of people think that the SR-71 was developed as a result of Gary Powers being shot down in his U-2 on May 1st, 1960 And as you’ll see as we go through the dates, that’s not actually true It’s not untrue but it’s not a true fact There’s more to it than just that July 5th, 1955 was– ’56 rather, was the first Soviet Union overflight by a U-2 aircraft done by the Central Intelligence Agency Two important things during the Cold War and you’re all are familiar with the Cold War I’m sure to some extent, the Soviet Union was a closed society We needed to know what was going on in there with their weapons development, with their missile development, and what were they doing We felt the only way to really do that was overfly the Soviet Union >> The U-2 he refers to is the Lockheed U-2, a high-altitude reconnaissance plane developed by aeronautical engineer, Kelly Johnson Earlier during World War II, Johnson led the design of the P-38 Lightning P-38s were used during Operation Vengeance where the US located and shot down Japanese Admiral Yamamoto over the Pacific Yamamoto was then the leader of the Japanese Imperial Navy

and one of the key architects of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor An original P-38 is currently on display at the museum The U-2 was designed to fly above 70,000 feet, safe from the range of the Soviet MiG-17– their best interceptors at the time, and safe from Soviet radar and missile defense systems Or so it was believed >> First flight was in July 5th, 1956 Two very important things happened at that point The first one was they found out our intelligence experts and our scientists found out that the information that the U-2 brought back was second to none It was fantastic It was– it was exactly what they were looking for Great, pictures, they could see the missiles, they could see what was going on in the Soviet Union, they could see the military bases very well That was the good news The bad news was that the Soviets knew the U-2 was there They could see it on the radar They could track the U-2 They knew it was there So our scientists at that point felt that probably four to five years before Soviet missile technology caught up to the U-2 And boy, they hit that one pretty much right on the head because it wasn’t– but you know, four years later, that Powers was shot down over the Soviet Union, it is U-2, May 1st, 1960 Following that, in 1962 when President Eisenhower worked with Khrushchev to get Powers back, there were no more manned overflights of the Soviet Union So, the U-2 didn’t overfly Soviet Union anymore The SR-71 never overflew the Soviet Union You will hear a lot of people say, “Oh, yeah, the SR-71 was overflying the Soviet Union.” Never happened because Khrushchev said in 1962 that he’d release Powers as long as we did stop all the manned overflights of the Soviet Union We agreed to that so we didn’t do that anymore, but that’s the time that the satellites were back online and we had unmanned vehicles that were being able to do the same sort of thing >> So between 1957 and ’58, well before CIA pilot Gary Powers was shot down over the Soviet Union, Project GUSTO was launched to develop a successor to the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft >> This is a handwritten note that Kelly Johnson did, you know, probably at the Lockheed cafeteria in Burbank And you see up here it says basically redesign the U-3 At that point he was calling it not a U-2 but a U-3 He didn’t know what to call it He had all those parameters and requirements, high altitude Down here, he did things that engineers do which I don’t even understand, lot of formulas and all down there that he was putting together But this was all handwritten This is Kelly Johnson’s handwriting from 1958 And then up here, he started a report and he did what’s unthinkable now of a person this important It was– he started writing the introduction to the proposal that he was going to give to the government This was his handwritten– his handwritten proposal there But I wanted you to see this because it’s just– you don’t get to see this very often But that’s how the whole program started right there That led to the A-12 OXCART This is the CIA version of the SR-71 It’s very much like an SR-71 You put it next to each other, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference It’s about seven feet shorter than an SR-71 But this is the first airplane that the contract was built for and this was in 1959 It was May of 1960 when Powers was shot down So the actual contract to build this aircraft was prior to the shoot down of Powers in the U-2, so that’s the point I was making there, that it was after the U-2’s first flight but prior to the shoot down that this whole development process started >> The A-12 OXCART had a small radar cross-section, about one square meter And in the early days of radar, it would appear on the enemy’s scopes only once or twice before its incredible speed got it out of range Because this was before the advent of computers, the design of the aircraft was done entirely using a slide rule The A-12 was America’s first stealth aircraft During flight, extreme heat was caused by air friction and the aircraft’s engines Due to this, 93 percent of the aircraft is constructed with titanium alloy Titanium is lightweight It can withstand extreme temperatures both hot and cold And it gets stronger during these conditions >> I will tell you, sitting right there where I sat in a pressure suit, and so I’ve got the pressure suit on with the gloves and I’ve got about an inch and a half

to two inches of glass and I could put my hand against the cockpit window for about eight seconds before I had to pull it away because it got that hot But now I was comfortable in the cockpit because we could pressurize the cockpit and I could cool the cockpit and I was in a pressure suit so I could cool myself up also But if you touch the surface like I did, about eight seconds before you have to pull your hand away >> But having titanium as its primary construction material presented one key obstacle >> The United States had no source of titanium back in the late ’50s and the early ’60s The only country that did, and this was during the Cold War, of course, was the Soviet Union So the Central Intelligence Agency opened basically a storefront in Maryland, an international business that then opened a storefront in Europe as an international business, and then went into the Soviet Union and bought titanium and that it shipped back to Europe, and at which time they then shipped it to Southern California where they use it to build the SR-71 that then flew in the Cold War against the Soviet Union It was just a great story It’s just like your– yeah, just like your Saturday afternoon spy stories And then the heat required special fuels We use the fuel to cool the aircraft actually, special hydraulic fluids Hydraulic fluid also has a consistency of molasses You have to heat it before you can actually run it through the engines and all So, there’s a lot that goes into getting the airplane ready to fly but that’s all as a result of the heat >> Heat created by the aircraft cruising at around 90,000 feet above the Earth at Mach 3.2 which is about 2,100 or 2,200 miles per hour, or 36 or 37 miles a minute If it was possible to fire a high-powered rifle like the .30-06 from coast to coast and maintain its muzzle velocity, the Blackbird would arrive about five minutes before the bullet >> We always had a– we always had a joke that you didn’t know– it was nothing like being lost at the three times the speed of sound because– because you really get lost quickly >> The obvious main source for all this speed, the two massive engines >> Pratt & Whitney J58, its continuous afterburning engine which was unheard of at the time and still is one of the state-of-the-art things The air goes in there, this is where the air goes in, and as the air starts hitting the compressor stages, most of it gets bypassed around on this bleed bypass valves, if you will, they go around And then it reenters the engine there in the afterburner section where it gets reburnt and that equates for the ramjet cycle which means that at Mach 3 and above, 80 percent of my power was basically a ramjet, which meant that that engine and the inlet system associated with it was actually pulling us through the air as opposed to the engine pushing us through the air So you save a lot of fuel by doing that I mean we burnt an awful lot of fuel in the SR-71, don’t get me wrong But the airplane became more fuel-efficient the faster you flew This is an engine on a test stand and an engine run And I showed you this because the maintenance guys, the maintenance guys would run engines a lot out of Beale Air Force Base in the SR-71 And about twice a year when the weather was nice, they would set up bleachers out at the engine test stand and invite people to come out and watch an engine run, give them all head protectors and they’d sell hot dogs and sodas and popcorn to make money for their ready runs and all And this is what it looked like It got– the ground would shake You’d feel yourself vibrating but the engine will get so hot– so there’s the front part of the engine There is the afterburner part of the engine It became almost translucent You can almost see through it through the engine actually And the way you could tell that it was operating on all cylinders and everything was burning perfectly was 13 of these diamonds If there were 13 diamonds and they would count ’em, the engine would be operating actually at its max capacity And that’s how they’ve done They’d shut it down and we’d all go away [ Music ] >> [Background Music] Designing the aerodynamics for any aircraft is critical But for one capable of traveling over three times the speed of sound required unique characteristics >> The sonic boom on all airplanes comes off of the nose And then when the sonic booms comes off of the nose and the air is disrupted, you want the air to hit all the other surfaces basically straight

on like a regular airplane flying at 25 or 35,000 feet So everything has to be built so that that air hits the wings, the engines and all straight on So, if you look at it, look at the engine These engine spikes that are out in the front, they are cantered down and end That’s so that the air coming off here hits them directly The wings, you see the bending of the wings, that’s so the air would hit those wings directly in that two-degree angle of attack You could see the vertical stabilizers here that cantered in a little bit Everything was built to make the airplane precise and efficient at that altitude But in doing that, the airplane has no square corners, so without square corners, very little radar reflectivity going back So, unbeknownst to them or maybe beknownst, ’cause they were all professional engineers, they built an airplane that had very little radar cross section just because of the way they wanted to make it fly Then they put the black paint on it which absorbs some of that radar energy and they mixed some carbon in the bottom of the airplane here to misdirect some of the other radar So as a result, very little radar cross-section on the SR-71 Now, in the cockpit, I could tell if I was being tracked by radar I could tell if they locked on and I could tell if they launched a missile You can tell all that in the cockpit just through lights People ask me if I ever seen a missile I never saw a missile in flight I had several missions where I actually saw launch lights in the cockpit I looked out but I didn’t see– I did not, myself, see a missile but we’ve had guys see a missile SA-2 missiles, which back when I was flying, could fly 75 over 80,000 feet, no problem Now, they kind of go ballistic up there but they’re up there with you They don’t actually chase you They just come up and hit you, but the problem is you’re going so fast they would actually have to shoot that missile off a launcher long before you got into the range of the missile or the range of the radar that actually guides that particular missile So, you know, they have to know exactly where you’re going to be No SR-71 was ever hit with a missile There is talk that one of the CIA A-12 airplanes over North Vietnam came back with a little shrapnel in the tail from an SA-2 missile But the belief is that they were probably barrage launching on the B-52 bombers and it just went up to altitude and blew up and the A-12 aircraft happened to be in the area I don’t know that part for a fact but that seems to be [ Music ] >> [Background Music] The term “Blackbird” refer to the family of aircraft designed and built by Lockheed’s Advanced Development Programs division more commonly known as Skunk Works The Skunk Works logo can be seen on the vertical stabilizers of the SR-71 located in the museum There were a total of four different aircraft in the Blackbird family Fifty Blackbirds in total were built Of those 50, 13 were A-12s and 32 were SR-71s Aeronautical engineer, Kelly Johnson, was the primary designer of this aircraft >> Back during the Cold War, unlike budget scenarios now, back during the Cold War, if you had an idea and you were a smart engineer that the Department of Defense and the government respected like Kelly Johnson, money was no problem So, every time Kelly had an idea for something else to develop here in this Blackbird family, he had all kinds of money But I will tell you, when he got to the SR-71, he delivered the SR-71– how many times you hear this– he delivered the SR-71 several months early and many million dollars below budget And he actually gave that money back to the government for the SR-71 OXCART very quickly, the first flight of the CIA aircraft was in 1962 Area 51, you’ve always heard those mythical stories, yes, there is really an Area 51 I’ve been there several times What they would do is they’d build these airplanes in California They drive them over the mountains and then they would take them up into the desert at the Area 51 and they’d put them together and fly ’em After the Skunk Works, Lockheed moved out of Burbank into Palmdale, California in high desert They would build them there and then just drive them not many miles up into the high desert for Area 51 and those areas Even back in those days, in Area 51 and probably still today, they know exactly when the bad guy satellites are breaking the horizon And when they’re breaking the horizon, they stop everything If you go to Area 51 for whatever reason and I didn’t, I never had to do this because when I went out there ’cause of the position I was in and what I was doing But they will foggle you It’s called foggling When you get off the airplane, you put on glasses and the glasses are set up so that you can see down So when you’re walking along, you can see about three feet

in front of you but you can’t see anything else So when you’re going from building to building and you’re walking outside, you put on these foggles so that you can’t see what’s going on The important date is May 29th, 1967, operations began at Kadena Air Base, Japan This is in the A-12 now flown by the CIA, the first SR-71, to put in the time perspective The first SR-71 had already been delivered to the Air Force So there’s a lot going on at this point The A-12s were delivered to the CIA, they were going through checkouts The Air Force wants to get onboard so they put out a contract to build SR-71 So SR-71s are being built actually and have been delivered to the Air Force before the A-12 by the CIA flies its first operational mission over Vietnam by the CIA So in the fall of 1967, the A-12 and the SR-71 have a fly off Back in those days, you could say it right now, you cannot pick a name like this, that was called “Pretty Girl” was the name of the fly off that they gave it to And they basically flew the A-12s and the SR-71s against each other, taking pictures and comparing all the different sensor takes and sensor actions And between the two of those, the Air Force’s SR-71 model did get the go ahead In 1966, the SR was first delivered to the Air Force In March of 1968, the first SR-71 operational mission was flown also out of Kadena Air Base, Japan At that point, they had CIA A-12s there and Air Force SR-71s there, and then when the SR-71 was successful, they started flying the A-12s home Everything was very classified in those days, so people watching didn’t know that there were two different airplanes operating out of there They didn’t know one was an A-12, one was an SR-71 And in 1968, the A-12 program was terminated [ Music ] >> [Background Music] The SR-71 was the final design of the Blackbird family of aircraft It could travel at speeds of Mach 3.2, although Mach 3.3 could be reached if necessary Its maximum altitude was 85,000 feet >> At those altitudes, you can see the curvature of the Earth, about 350 miles At those speeds, you fly faster than the Earth rotates, so it was not uncommon for me at night to fly in a westerly direction and actually see a sunrise come up in the west During the day, the sky is a deep, deep blue, not quite black You can see the different shades of blue as you’re looking down into the black You can see some of the brighter stars during the day and my guess is what you’re seeing are probably the planets, Venus and Mars and all At night, you cannot see constellations like we’re seeing here, you know, Orion and Pegasus and those things, you can’t see those, the Big Dipper, because at night, the entire sky at that altitude is just one big Milky Way I mean it’s nothing but stars It’s just the most beautiful sight you’ve ever seen in your life It’s absolutely incredible I was flying a mission over the North Pole once and because of the way the Earth is shaped and longitude and latitudes up there, got over the North Pole I had about an 18-minute transit to go all the way across the pole And in 18 minutes, I had a full moon rise over my right shoulder in the cockpit and set to the left three complete times The moon just went around the cockpit like that three complete times It was absolutely the most amazing thing I had ever seen >> At over 80,000 feet in speeds exceeding Mach 3, SR-71 pilots have ejected In fact, every Air Force crew member who ejected from one survived [ Music ] >> [Background Music] Some of the records that the airplane has set, the important thing about these records set a lot of reference These all still stand today but the important thing about these records I like to bring up is we did this everyday We didn’t– we set these records ’cause the country was set, you know, and we had the records and the crews were there to make sure that everything was done correctly But that’s how we flew everyday in the airplane We had no subsonic missions We took off subsonic, we refueled subsonic behind the tanker and then we went supersonic And we just stayed supersonic the whole time and then we came down I want to just take a minute here and just tell you some of the missions we flew in the SR-71 It was the Cold War, some of the fun missions we flew and as veterans, my very first mission out of Okinawa, Japan was over North Vietnam And we had cameras onboard and all

but the weather didn’t matter, or normally the weather did matter and you wanted a clear day and you delay sometimes and all But the mission was over North Vietnam and it was primarily to go over the Hanoi Hilton The SR-71, ’cause I told you, the sonic boom coming over the nose of the airplane here creates that sonic boom and then the spikes right here, they create a second sonic boom So when the SR-71 flies overhead, you get a very distinct “boom, boom.” [ Explosion ] Don’t ask me why it’s that distinct and why it’s that separated I really don’t know but it’s not like a [inaudible], it’s a “boom, boom” very distinct, double sonic boom And when you go through the sound barrier and when I’m taking tours around here, a lot of people don’t realize that when you break the sound barrier in an airplane and you go supersonic, that supersonic sonic boom follows you everywhere you fly So it’s not just a one-time occurrence when you go through the speed of sound So if you broke the sonic boom over Los Angeles, the people in LA would hear a sonic boom but all the way across country, every place you flew over, Kansas, Colorado, or wherever, people in the ground would hear that sonic boom And the same with the SR-71, I was going to hear a double sonic boom everywhere you go So it’s not just a one-time event, everybody hears a sonic boom >> Do you hear it? >> No, no You don’t hear anything in the cockpit Nor is it like the movies you see where you start to shake and your teeth go back and everything, you kind of get– you kind of get down there and you feel what– it’s kind of like a pause but it’s not in the aircraft so much It’s in the instruments ’cause the instruments pause and then they go supersonic and then they all pick up where they left off So you don’t get any shaking and rattling and anything like that But anyway, so the purpose of this mission– and we flew several of these in years, was to fly over the Hanoi Hilton where our POWs were being kept so that they would hear that very distinctive double sonic boom [explosion] to let them know that people were thinking about them Years afterwards when I go to happy hours and all and had the different– the clubs and all in the Air Force, you’d run into some of the POWs and they said they did hear that and that was kind of, you know, it’s uplifting as it can get when you’re in that kind of a situation So that was one mission we– one type of mission we flew Another type of mission we flew which was very much fun was over Cuba, and with the explicit approval of the Department of State And that was primarily when they knew that Fidel was going to be out there having a big parade or it was a Cuban holiday and they were going to be marching all the troops by and waving and doing all those things that they do We’d fly right down the middle of Cuba right when the parade was– was parade hitting, you know, stage center and give them that big double sonic boom >> Yeah >> So that they’d hear it on the ground And then the other types of missions we flew were more of the standard missions where we flew reconnaissance missions against the Soviet Union, against China, North Vietnam, North Korea, you know, all those types of things where we’re collecting photo imagery and electrical intelligence >> The SR-71 carried numerous sensors Among them were high-resolution cameras, side-looking radar, ELINT or electrical intelligence recorders, and COMINT or communication intelligence recorders >> Now, we had a good COMINT recorder onboard but it’s funny because we flew so fast You couldn’t catch a lot of a conversation that people were having But that proved to be very good for the electrical intelligence recorders because we could fly by a, say a Soviet new radar that was out there that our intelligence people thought was onboard And if they turn that radar on even for a couple of seconds and turned it off, we had traveled such a distance that not only could we collect the radar waves from it but we could also– we’d travel far enough to give a little bit of a triangulation so that they could actually see not only what it was but where it was We had an astro-inertial navigation system onboard It tracked three stars Not unlike Star Trek, we had a stardate We put a stardate in the airplane and the airplane system would know what stars to track and once it saw the sky, it would lock on to three stars We promised the president, because of the sensitivity to our missions, that we would never be more than 300 feet now, 300 feet off the centerline of the mission track we were supposed to fly, and that astro-inertial tracker would keep us that The reason we did that is like our flights along the Soviet and Chinese border Back in those days, I don’t know what they do now but in those days, the Soviets declared supremacy out to 15 miles that they owned out there We said we gave them out the three miles, international law So our missions were at the three-mile point along the borders That’s why we get a lot of reactions from the Soviets,

airplanes coming out trying to come up and intercept, doing those types of things Here’s another mission that was really neat This was during the Arab-Israeli wars in the end of ’73, early ’74 You all are too young but that was the timeframe where we’re having another gas crisis back in those days Because of the political ramifications, our European allies weren’t allowing us to overfly or fly out of their countries because they didn’t want to upset the Arabs, of course, for the oil and the gas So these are missions that had to be flown by the SR-71 from the west coast to the east coast of the United States We moved them from Beale Air Force Base to North Carolina, to the east coast It’s about 11,000 miles roundtrip, ten plus hours Probably, as I say, ten plus hours, probably more like 12 hours But you can see it goes across the entire Atlantic Ocean through the Strait of Gibraltar, down the Mediterranean, over the Sinai for about five minutes, and then comes all the way back and lands We flew nine of those missions and every one of them flew just as programmed No problems at all The rules of engagement that we had was that if you got a launch light in the cockpit, you push the throttles forward to accelerate to maximum Mach which is 3.2 So in this case, you’d accelerate from Mach 3.0 to Mach 3.2, not a big deal but a little bit of acceleration And then this– and then the second technical thing we would do is look out the window to see if you see a missile That’s what the checklist said And then if you saw a missile, if you saw a missile, what you didn’t do was try to fly the airplane to avoid the missile because they felt you are more likely to lose the airplane trying to duke around up there than the missile was to hit you >> In the unlikely event that the crew was shot down, limited resources were available to them >> In the survival kit of the SR-71, we had a small fold-up .22 [ Laughter ] >> That’s a big– >> Yeah, yeah I’m not sure exactly what that was for but we had a small, we had a small .22 in there that we carry with us And we couldn’t carry a wallet or anything We wore a name tag and the U-2 still were– now with your name on it and your rank It would say like “Captain Kinego” or “Major Kinego.” And that was so you weren’t considered a spy >> You have to wear your dog tags? >> Did not wear dog tags for these missions >> For SR-71 pilots who would fly long missions that span the globe and lasted multiple hours, a common question was asked >> I need to go to the bathroom [ Laughter & Inaudible Remarks ] >> I’ve been asked that a lot but I’m not sure I’ve been asked on camera before [ Laughter ] >> Number two, you were just on your own I mean, you just– you just– and we had people do it People just went– [ Inaudible Remarks ] I mean you just went, and we had people that just got sick or something and just had to go But that, you just go Number one, it was easy You put on a thing called a urinary control device It’s like a condom basically with a tube coming out the front, you put it on It comes outside your suit and it goes out a tube and it was in your pocket, and in your– goes into a plastic bag in your pocket and it’s got a sponge in there [ Inaudible Remarks ] No, no, no Well, no, no, yeah, you left the whole– the UCD on Yeah, you put that on before you– you had to put it on first before you put your pressure suit on You got in the airplane and you got– you’re all hooked up ready to go If you had to go to the bathroom, then you would put a little air on it and then you kind of open up the valve and you go to the bathroom and then you could turn it off, shut it down [ Inaudible Remark ] I’ve been asked that question on 6th grade tours out here [ Laughter ] Everybody wants to know that >> Yeah >> Yeah, you got to be careful how you explain it to those 6th graders but– But no, you need to– yeah, I mean that’s what we did >> After the presentation, the student veterans left the conference room and Colonel Kinego took them on a brief tour at the museum >> This airplane that you see right here, it’s a Nieuport 28 In 1914, World War I started, right? In 1918, we sent our first soldiers and airmen over to Europe for World War I When our airmen got over there, we had no airplanes We had no airplanes because we didn’t develop the aircraft industry at all We had to buy airplanes from the French and so the first airplanes we flew was this Nieuport 28 Nieuport 28 is a complete fabric airplane This is all fabric over wood It had a pesky problem that the French didn’t like, in that the fabric on the top of the wing would come off

and when the fabric came off, the airplane would crash and the French pilots didn’t like this So as a result– As a result, the French sold it to the Americans This is the first airplane in the United States that first went into combat That Uncle Sam hat you see there with the gold ring around it, if you recall in your history the, you know, we threw our hat in a ring to go over to war in Europe Well, that was the Hat-in-the-Ring Squadron It’s the 94th Squadron, threw their hat in the ring to go in flight combat Do you ever stop and wonder why when you talk about airplanes, you talk about fuselage, empennage, pitot-static system, those are all French names, yeah That’s because we invented the airplane but we didn’t actually develop the airplane The United States didn’t have an aircraft industry French and the Europeans developed the airplane because the winds of war were blown over there during that timeframe coming up to World War I [ Music ] [Background Music] OK, this is Enola Gay This is the airplane that dropped the first nuclear weapon on Hiroshima And a lot of people ask me, “Is this a mockup? Is this the real airplane?” This is the real airplane That wing tip to the far wing tip is about 142 feet That’s over 20 feet longer than the first flight that the Wright brothers made when they developed the airplane Anybody know why it was named Enola Gay? Colonel Paul Tibbets was the pilot Most of the people in the squadron had no idea what they were training for Colonel Tibbets did The night before the mission, he went out to the airplane, he wanted something on the airplane, so he had them put on “Enola Gay” which is his mother’s maiden name Right in the very front, it had this very new development called the Norden bombsight The Norden bombsight in World War II was completely state-of-the-art It allowed the bombardier to put cross hairs on a target that they want to drop on and then lock on, and the airplane will actually fly, the airplane would actually drop the bombs That’s why, you know, you hear about Colonel Tibbets but you never hear about who is the bombardier that pushed the button and dropped the nuclear bomb because the bombsight actually did that President Truman who had taken over from President Roosevelt and the allies did send a memorandum to the emperor of Japan saying, we need your immediate surrender unconditional or something very dramatic will happen Didn’t say what it was going to be We never heard anything back from the emperor So on the 6th of August 1945, seven B-29 Silverplate taxied out and took off from Tinian Island When they got to Hiroshima, dropped the bomb, it was an air burst, went off at about 1,500 feet, went back to Tinian, waited President Truman heard nothing from the emperor, so on the 9th of August now, 1945, six B-29s took off out of Tinian and what do you think the primary target was then? [ Inaudible Remarks ] Nagasaki is too easy, too easy, yeah The primary target was Kokura, Japan Enola Gay was one of the weather ships on that mission, got to Kokura and it was overcast so they left Kokura and went to Nagasaki and dropped the second weapon, same as the first That was on the 9th of August Finally, on the 15th of August, they heard from the emperor that Japan had surrendered [Background Music] This is the restoration hangar This right here is Sikorsky and it’s a Sikorsky JRS-1 This particular airplane that’s being restored right now is basically a flying boat You can tell from the front here, and the way the gear go up and it’s got platoons you can put on on the side here It’s a flying boat and this one survived Pearl Harbor This actually survived the bombing and took off, and its job was to go out and look for the Japanese fleet during the days after Pearl Harbor ’cause you recall, they were still pretty much convinced that the Japanese were going to invade Hawaii [ Music ] [Background Music] The space shuttle we’re going to see here is Discovery Discovery is the workhorse of the fleet There were 135 shuttle launches and Discovery flew 39 of them One of the better views you’d get of it is from right here That’s where the crew sits The flight deck is up there The crew lives down here That’s the cargo bay Cargo bay is 60 feet long You can put a school bus in there, a Winnebago, and it’s 15 feet in diameter Saturn V rocket are the rockets we used to send people to the moon This is the ring right here that carry the avionics and navigation It has less power– less power than your iPhone right now, and less computing capability than your iPhone, and that’s what– how it’s been

That engine, if you recall, got its fuel only from main fuel tanks so when the main fuel tank was gone, that engine never burned again So when the shuttle reentered, came back to land, it has no power It was a glider coming back in >> Main gear touch down >> And the tail, there’s a split tail The pilot can open and close it as an air brake This arm that you’re looking at right here, that’s called the Canadarm, probably one of the greatest robotic achievements exported out of Canada When we launch things into space, a satellite then would be actually attached to the end of that arm so they would execute that arm out and then we simply lay the satellite on its orbit [ Music ] [Background Music] Here is the SR-71 They built the airplane with like expansion joints like you would build a bridge So on a hot summer day, you know, they put them together and it doesn’t buckle As the airplane gets very hot, the combination of all those expansion joints coming together is about six to eight inches Most airplanes have fuel tanks and then they have bladders that sit in the fuel tanks that the fuel goes in Back in the day when they were building this airplane, there was no technology like that that would keep those bladders from melting, so there’s no bladder So the fuel goes in the fuel tank but just sits right against the skin of the airplane And you have those expansion joints, so because of that, the fuel didn’t leak out Now, you’ll hear various stories about pours out It didn’t pour out but it leaked out pretty significantly Your first five missions in the SR-71 are in the B model This is an A model you’re looking at here This is an operational model The B model doesn’t have a navigator It has an instructor pilot It sits back there but the rear cockpit is elevated so that the instructor pilot can see out the land and all You only get five missions in the B model to train and the fifth mission is your checkride So, you really only get four missions to train and you got to learn how to go Mach 3, climb, refuel, do all those things So, you had to come there and be able to fly fast airplanes You had to come here knowing how to air refuel You know, people ask me what did it feel like to fly at that speed now Well, the answer is it didn’t feel like anything I’m sitting so far forward, I can’t turn my head far enough to actually see the airplane, so I don’t see any airplane So I’m in the pressure suit breathing hundred percent oxygen, so I don’t smell the airplane And I’m in that pressure suit with the air blowing in my head, I don’t hear an airplane So it’s like going 36 miles a minute on a telephone pole and it’s very smooth [ Music ] >> [Background Music] For student participants in Montgomery College’s Combat to College program, it was an experience unlike any provided in a classroom Spending time with a retired Air Force colonel who piloted one of the most famous planes in history and walking through a museum that gives them access to history >> Being in the military, you get to work alongside of modern technology But here, you actually get to see the history of all that technology, and what you worked with and how it got there So it’s really cool It’s interesting >> My first semester here at Montgomery College, I did a report on Hiroshima and then to see the Enola Gay is kind of– brought back the feelings of me first coming back to school as an adult and it’s just spectacular >> I don’t think without Combat to College, you know, I would not be doing as well as I am in school >> The Combat to College program is fantastic for veterans especially when they’re coming from a very structured lifestyle and then just kind of transitioning, integrating back into “normal” society It’s one of the only schools that I’ve seen or spoken to that actually help veterans with that issue, which is just kind of a way for that veteran to kind of feel appreciated for the service when the college wants to do this type of activities [ Music ]