During his career with the USAF Col. Graham flew 210 combat missions in Vietnam on the F4 Phantom and as a “Wild Weasel” pilot. He then volunteered, and was selected, to join the SR-71 programme in 1974 spending 7 years flying the SR-71 before being promoted to Squadron Commander. After spending 4 years serving in the Pentagon he returned to Beale as Vice Wing Commander and in the summer of 1988 was made Wing Commander of 9th SRW (Strategic Reconnaissance Wing) at Beale Air Force base.
The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft, is one of the fastest aircraft ever built holding the world record in July 1976. The phrase “faster than a speeding bullet” is often quoted to illustrate the speed that the Blackbird flies at, around Mach 3.2 (2,200mph). In September 1974 it set the record for a flight from RAF Mildenhall back to Los Angeles covering 5,446.86 miles in a time of 3 hours 47 minutes.
It also holds records for the height it flies at (80,000 feet) which means the crew are required to wear pressure suits similar to those worn by astronauts.
The ability to fly high and fast gave the SR-71 many advantages on reconnaissance missions, as images produced on radar over foreign territory were only seen when it was too late for ground missiles to estimate the direction to fire.
Don’t miss the opportunity to hear more interesting facts on this aircraft told by an entertaining speaker, Col. Richard Graham, join us on 12th May 2017 at 7:30pm in The Assembly Room, Welshpool Town Hall.
Tickets: £10 from Welshpool Tourist Office (01938 552043) or Mid Wales Airport (01938 555560)