I read this book about 27-Dec-2004. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 2002. This note was last modified Wednesday, 29-Aug-2007 23:49:00 PDT.
This note does not contain major spoilers for the book.
The subtitle is "Stories, Tales, and Legends". Lots of those around the SR-71, of course. Looking at the front matter, I notice that the publisher is actually located in St. Paul!
Graham has collected letters from lots of SR-71 crewmen, and edited them together into a book. So the writing isn't first-rate, but is certainly from the heart. And the information is first-hand.
What an amazingly awesome plane. Early 1960s technology, and it still holds many speed and altitude records for air-breathing aircraft. A bit expensive to run—the 1990s program restart number was around $36,000 per air hour. Took lots of maintenance and lots of support, and special fuel not used by any other airplane. Sounds like it was tricky to fly, too; things happen fast at mach 3. And survived some spectacular malfunctions, like coming back to base on one engine and having the maintenance crew stand appalled looking at the 18 inch hole burned through the titanium of the engine nacelle.
I haven't seen any mention yet of the traditional banter with air traffic control.