SR - 71 BLACKBIRD : Lockheed's Mach 3 Hot Shot
During his 13 years at the London Air Traffic Control Centre, Paul F. Crickmore gained his pilot's license and flew in KC - 135 tankers refueling fighter and bomber aircraft. Flying has shown him the full spectrum, supersonic in a R.A.F. Lightning, a four ship with the British Red Arrow team, D.A.C. with F - 16's, F - 4's low over the Nevada desert, and C - 130 transports. Rotor wing experience includes Blackhawks, HH - 53's, Wessexs, Gazelles, Wasps, Lynx and Army Chinooks.
In October 1981, he was granted a special security clearance to fly in a KC - 135Q tanker during the operational refueling of an SR - 71 " Habu " from R.A.F. Mildenhall ( Suffolk, England ). This gave him a unique access into a world usually hidden from non - programme members.
Since that flight, Paul F. Crickmore has written many articles and 13 books about military aviation matters, but his first love is as the recognized author extraordinaire on the SR - 71 and A - 12. His remarkable chronicling is recognized by the Blackbird community as the master documenter of the history, legacy and lore of these incredible programmes.
( source : Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum )