"Sled Driver: The Inspirational Life Story of an SR-71 Blackbird Pilot"

Top Gun: Maverick - Birds of Fray

May 30 2023 • 5 mins

Brian Shul was a USAF pilot having joined the force during the Vietnam War in 1970. His AT-28 aircraft was shot down during the Vietnam War in 1973 near the Cambodian border and the wreckage of his burning aircraft landed in the jungle. Brian managed to survive but was trapped in the burning cockpit of his aircraft and was burned severely. It took almost a year, immense pain and 15+ plus surgeries for him to recover from his injuries and he managed to get back to flying after clearing every possible physical examination required. After flying fighter jets for almost a decade, he applied for what could be termed as the most challenging assignment for a fighter pilot, which was to fly the world's fastest, manned air-breathing flying machine, the USAF's Mach 3+ SR-71 Blackbird. Brian has mentioned in his book https://www.amazon.com/Sled-Driver-Flying-Worlds-Fastest/dp/0929823087" target="_blank">Sled Driver about flying the SR-71, "“There were a lot of things we couldn’t do in an SR-71, but we were the fastest guys on the block and loved reminding our fellow aviators of this fact. People often asked us if, because of this fact, it was fun to fly the jet. Fun would not be the first word I wouldn't use to describe flying this plane—intense, maybe, even cerebral.” Brian was a regular at Military Aviation events and he relished talking about the SR-71 Blackbird, especially, his 'Ground Speed Check Story' which was one of his famous stories. Brian had a cardiac arrest and breathed his last on May 20, 2023 right after finishing his last speech at the Nevada military support alliance annual gala where he was the keynote speaker. For his 'Ground Speed Check Story' listen to the audio. Audio Credits: Jan Johnson