Building The SR-71, The World’s Fastest Jet

Event Details



Tonight’s lecture will summarizes the development of the SR-71 long range, high-altitude, Mach 3+ strategic
reconnaissance aircraft. John Schell, a former Chief Avionics Engineer, will take his audience inside the iconic SR-71 Blackbird. He will spotlight these of these crucial features:

  • Airframe Design for MACH 3+ Cruise
  • Unique Turbo-Ramjet Propulsion System
  • World’s First Radar Stealth Capability
  • Advanced Imaging Sensors & Defensive Systems

Speaker Biography

John Schell graduated with a MSEE in April 1970 from Penn State University and a reserve commission in the USAF. He initially worked as a radar research engineer in the Air Force Avionics Laboratory, at WPAFB, OH. Assigned to the SR–71/U–2 Project Office, he led the development of imaging radar prototypes for the SR–71 and U–2R. He later served as the Chief Avionics Engineer for both airplanes. In 1980 he separated from the Air Force and continued working at Wright Patterson AFB as a civilian engineer providing support to multiple intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance developments, and he was last assigned to the RQ–4 Global Hawk program. After his retirement in 2016, John became a volunteer and a docent at the National Museum of the USAF. John is a Cold War historian who has authored multiple papers and presentations to this topic. Tonight’s presentation will be a comprehensive look at how the SR-71 was developed.

Note: The speaker has requested that a video recording of his presentation not be posted on the MESMA YouTube channel. Hence, if you interested in this subject you should plan on attending his talk in person.

For additional details on this presentation call 937-247-0402 (MCWDC) or 937-353-4457 (MSEMA). The presentation is free and open to the public and has ample free parking.

Mound Cold War Discovery Center
Phone: 937-247-0402