Next Section Event : Thurs., November 20, 2014
Please RSVP!

DATE:                THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2014
SPEAKER:         colonel (ret.) richard graham
TALK TITLE:     SR-71 blackbird - an engineering marvel


The world’s fastest and highest flying aircraft was conceived as early as 1958 by the renowned aircraft engineer, Kelly Johnson. The gigantic leap in technology he and his engineers had to overcome at the Lockheed Skunk Works was phenomenal. Built in total secrecy, the first Blackbird flew on April 26, 1962.  The Blackbird’s only purpose was to gather highly classified intelligence on hostile countries around the world. Flying at Mach 3+ speeds and cruising at over 85,000 feet, the SR-71 could survey over 100,000 square miles every hour, gathering millions of bits of intelligence. When cruising at over 2,100 mph, with skin friction temperatures reaching 600 degrees F., the SR-71 performed at its very best.

From 1967 to 1990, the SR-71 served seven U.S. Presidents, the Central intelligence Agency (CIA), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Pentagon and other government agencies. It provided them with the necessary intelligence to make crucial political and military decisions during the Cold War era.


Colonel (ret.) Rich Graham flew the world’s fastest and highest flying aircraft, the SR-71 Blackbird, for 7 years during his 25 year Air Force career. He also flew 210 combat missions in Vietnam as an F-4 fighter pilot and Wild Weasel pilot. His many military awards include 3 Legion of Merit medals, 4 Distinguished Flying Cross medals and 19 Air Medals.  Rich speaks with authority on the SR-71 having been the Squadron Commander and 9th Wing Commander of this Top Secret reconnaissance program. He has written four highly revealing and informative books on the SR-71 which will be available for autographing at the presentation. Rich is a respected authority with an incredible depth of knowledge on the Blackbird. His truly amazing stories enthrall aviators and non-aviators alike.
After 25 years in the Air Force, Col. Graham flew 13 years for American Airlines.  He retired in August 2002 as a Captain on the MD-80 aircraft.  He has accumulated over 14,000 flying hours.  He now keeps busy as an author, speaker, aviation consultant, flight instructor and Civil Air Patrol pilot.  Col. Graham has written four books on the SR-71 which will be available to autograph and purchase after the presentation.

He was the 1999 recipient of the University of Nebraska’s William F. Shea Award for his distinguished contribution to aviation.  In 2005 he received the Kelly Johnson Award for his lifetime achievements to the Blackbird program.  He received the 2013 Congressional Veterans Commendation in November from Congressman Sam Johnson.

He is currently a Distinguished Lecturer for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).  He serves on the Leadership Council at the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas and on the International Advisory Board of Directors at the Flight of the Phoenix Aviation Museum in Gilmer, Texas.  He is also a member of the FAAST team for the FAA.

Beckham Grill Restaurant, 77 W. Walnut, Pasadena, CA
6 p.m. Social Hour
7 p.m. Dinner
8 p.m. Program/Talk

The dinner meeting is open to both AIAA members and non-members.

Cost :  $25 for AIAA members (and one guest at member price), $30 for non-members, $10 for students, and FREE to members attending for the first time (within 1 year of becoming a New AIAA member). Please pay cash at the door.

For RSVPs please email:
Please include your name, names of your guests, and AIAA membership status in your RSVP.  Note:  AIAA membership status and number are required to receive the $25 member price.

Additional Events:

Sample of Previous Dinner Meetings:
September 2014: Dr. Michael Werner, Spitzer Space Telescope
May 2014: Joe Caravella, Design and Development of an "Affordable" Roadable Aircraft
March 2014: Aeroscraft, Dragon Dream Airship
January 2014: Weather and Climate on Mars - New Insights from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
November 2013: Steve Isakowitz, Your Ticket to Space
October 2013: Sandy Magnus, former US astronaut: Perspectives from Space
October 2013: Tech Talk on 3D printing, aka Additive Manufacturing
August 2013:  Mysteries of Europa
May 2013:  Gen. Tattini, Deputy Director of JPL: Reflections on My Last 12 Years at JPL
March 2013:  Optical PAyload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS)
January 2013:  Is Global Warming the Real Deal? Are You Skeptical?