SR-71 - Overflight of France

Subject: SR-71 - Overflight of France

Edited by David Barth, November 21, 2008

SR-71 in flight
SR-71 in flight

Many interesting (and unconfirmed) stories have come out regarding the SR-71. In one story, an SR-71 was flying over France, returning to its base at Mildenhall, England, when an error light illuminated in the cockpit, ostensibly, an oil pressure drop to just below nominal.

It wasn't an emergency situation, but just to be safe, the pilot throttled back and reduced altitude. The RSO contacted French air traffic control for permission to descend through 60,000 feet, into controlled airspace.

The French controller denied the request unless the aircraft could provide a reservation number. Not having a "reservation number," and out of options, the SR-71 descended into French controlled airspace.

France scrambled interceptors which came up to the "low and slow" SR-71. The French pilot flew alongside and demanded a reservation number to fly in controlled airspace. The SR-71 RSO told the pilot he had just given the French pilot the number out of his window (the middle-finger sign). The SR-71 pilot throttled up and the Blackbird roared away from the French fighters, leaving the French pilots astonished at the acceleration and speed of the Blackbird.

SR-71 in flight
SR-71 in flight

Links to additional SR-71 Articles:
SR-71 - Inflight Breakup
SR-71 - Ceiling
SR-71 - Landing at Buckley ANG Base
SR-71 - Cancellation
SR-71 - Flight over France
SR-71 - Landing at Grand Forks, ND AFB
SR-71 - History
SR-71 - Navy challenge
SR-71 - Fueling from KC-135 Tankers
SR-71 - Titanium construction
SR-71 - Comments by John L., an astute observer