my friend charlie tweeted – “balloon jumping is neat, but a Mach 3.2 ejection is so much more interesting” – Flying the SR-71 Blackbird: In the Cockpit on a Secret Operational Mission
On the planned test profile, we entered a programmed thirty-five degree bank turn to the right. An immediate unstart occured on the right engine, forcing the aircraft to roll further right and start to pitch up. I jammed the control stick as far left and forward as it would go.
No response. I instantly knew we were in for a wild ride.
I attempted to tell Jim what was happening and to stay with the airplane until we reached a lower speed and altitude. I don’t think the chances of surviving an ejection at Mach 3.18 and seventy-eight thousand eight hundred feet were very good. However, g-forces built up so rapidly that my words came out garbled and unintelligible, as confirmed later by the cockpit voice recorder.
The culmulative effects of system malfunctions, reduced longitidinal stability, increased angle of attack in the turn, supersonic speed, high altitude, and other factors imposed forces on the airframe that exceeded flight control authority and stability augmentation system’s ability to restore control.
Everything seemed to unfold in slow motion. I learned later the time from event onset to catastrophic departure from controlled flight was only two to three seconds. Still trying to communicate with Jim, I blacked out, succumbing to extremely high g-forces.
Then the SR-71 … literally … disintegrated around us.
holy shit, what a good read… and this was back in 1966? g’damn.