Last updated: 13 July 2008

Books and Videos about Lockheed Blackbirds

Here is a list of books that are, and have been published on the U-2, A-12, YF-12 and SR-71, also the Skunk Works, and related subjects. They are listed in reverse order, newest books first. If I've missed some please email me with info on the book and I'll include it on the list.

Deals with the U-2

Deals with the SR-71 and variants

SR-71 Flying the SR-71 Blackbird

Richard H. Graham
Zenith Press - 2008 (288 pages-hardbound, ISBN: 978-0-7603-3239-9)
So you want to be an SR-71 pilot, but can't get that tricky time travel thing worked out.
Well, Col. Richard H. Graham, former SR-71 pilot and 9th SRW Commander takes you there in his newest book on the SR-71. He takes you from the pre-planning of a mission all the way though to the post flight debriefings. He also goes through the program shutdown and the reactivation and the final shutdown. Also included is the SR-71 Pilots checklist, and Black Shield, Yom Kippur and Cuban Memorandums recently declassifed and printed for the public here for the first time. It is an excellant read and Richard Graham has done another fantastic job of allowing us to see what it was like to fly the SR-71.

Profits from the sale of this book are going to the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas for the maintenance and upkeep of the SR-71 simulator.

If you'd like an autographed copy of "Flying the SR-71 Blackbird" they can be purchased directly from Rich Graham. The book is $29.00 ($30.15 Texas residences) and includes postage. Send a check to Richard Graham, 3501 Hearst Castle Way, Plano, TX 75025 for the book. Be sure to include who to autograph the book to and a return mailing address.


U-2 50 Years of the U-2, The complete Illustrated History of the "Dragon Lady"

Chris Pocock
Shiffer Publishing Ltd. - 2005 (440 pages-hardbound, ISBN: 0-7643-2346-6)
Yikes, this one BIG book, and I mean BIG, it's THE authoritive book on the U-2, ever written. This is Chris Pocock's pièce de résistance, it's a must read for any U-2 aficiando. Chris covers the entire U-2 program from it's inception to current(well at least up to when it was published in 2005).

Lockheed Blackbird: Beyond the Secret Missions

Paul Crickmore
Osprey Publishing- 2004

From Osprey's Press release:
Paul Crickmore’s groundbreaking Lockheed SR-71 was first published in 1986. Eighteen years on, this brand new edition draws on hundreds of newly declassified documents and interviews with dozens of key military personnel to produce the definitive history of the awe-inspiring “Habu”.
Lockheed Blackbird: Beyond the Secret Missions
Features newly declassified Top Secret material and a fully revised text
Includes detailed accounts by CIA and USAF pilots
Is written by a specialist author with a unique insight into a world usually hidden from non-programme members
Boasts a wealth of new colour photographs of the legendary spy-plane.
During his 13 years at the London Air Traffic Control Centre, Paul Crickmore flew in a large number of RAF and USAF fast jets. In 1981 he was granted a special security clearance to fly in a KC-135Q tanker during the operational refueling of an SR-71 Habu from RAF Mildenhall. Since that flight, Crickmore has written many articles and 13 books about military aviation matters, but the SR-71 has remained his specialist subject. This latest revision to his highly-acclaimed work is undoubtedly the standard work on the subject.


SR-71 Blackbird: Stories, Tales, and Legends

Richard H. Graham
MBI Publishing - 2002 (256 pages-hardbound, ISBN: 0-7603-1142-0)
Rich has out done himself, his last book on the SR-71(SR-71 Revealed, The Inside Story), was fabulous, but he takes you deeper into the Blackbird program then ever before in this new book. Rich takes you from the early days of the A-12 program to the bitter end of the SR-71 program. It begins with Ken Collins and the early CIA days of the A-12 program and ends with a final chapter from Major Mike “Zman” Zimmerman, the SR-71 Reactivation Program Manager. In chapter order, the stories are told by Ken Collins, Donn Byrnes, Dave Dempster, Pat Halloran, Tony Bevacqua, Jim Shelton, Al Cirino, Don Emmons, Jack Veth, Lee Shelton, Steve Koren, Frank Stampf, Gil Bertelson, Curt Osterheld, Geno Quist, Ed Yeilding, and Mike Zimmerman. Another fabulous book from Richard Graham. Thanks Rich, GREAT JOB!
As with Rich Graham’s first book, SR-71 Revealed, The Inside Story, royalties from the sale of the book go to the “J.T. Vida Memorial Fund” at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. The fund is established for the restoration and preservation of their SR-71 (tail #972), which will be on display when the new museum opens in December 2003 at Dulles International Airport, Washington, D.C.
ORDERING INFO: Call Zenith Books at 1-800-626-6600 and it's item #135112, OR, If you would like a personally autographed copy of the book for you or someone else, send a check for $27.30 (Texas residents $29.36) to Richard Graham, 3501 Hearst Castle Way, Plano, TX 75025-3702. Price includes packaging and mailing. Be sure to include who the book is for and the address you want it mailed to- Please mention that you saw this on my web page, Thanks


Sled Driver: The Limited Edition

Brian Shul
Gallery One Publishing - 2003 ( 168 pages-hardbound)
A remake of the very popular original Sled Driver, now out of print. Commemorating the Centennial of Flight, this Limited Edition (3500) outdoes the original with more stories, expanded text, new original photos, and a special centennial patch. Lavishly printed in horizontal format, each book comes in its own clamshell box and is personally signed by Robert Gilliland (first SR-71 pilot), Brian Shul (SR-71 pilot and author), Walter Watson (Shul's RSO and co-author of The Untouchables), and Ed Yeilding (SR-71 pilot that made final record breaking flight across America). True Collector's Item.
Ordering info:
Gallery One Publishing
515 D St Suite 3
Marysville, CA 95901
PH- 1-888-777-8383

Spyplane, The U-2 History Declassified

Norman Polmar
MBI Publishing - 2001 (278 pgs-hardbound, ISBN 0-7603-0957-4)
Comments: A nice book, but your money is better spent on Chris Pocock's "Toward The Unknown-A New history on the Early Years" & "Dragon Lady", much better researched and written book, and more in depth history on the U-2. Most of this info is taken right out of the CIA's history of the U-2 program publication(see below).

Habu and DragonLady, Behind the Scenes

Jerry F. Moncree
Bitney Publications - 2000 (308 pgs-softbound, ISBN 0-9702704-0-2)
Comments: The U-2 and SR-71 program from a different viewpoint, Jerry's association with the U-2 started just before the Gary Powers shoot down and ran through the Gulf War, and his association with the SR ran the full length of the program. He was first assigned to the Alaskan Air Command, providing power to radar sites, then moved onto the U-2 and then the SR-71, where he was with the U-2 and then SR-71 providing power for the planes and the film processing and sat and other support systems. This very interesting account of his time in the Air Force and with the U-2 and SR-71 provides an interesting and different viewpoint from the usual U-2 and SR book. You need this book to round out your U-2 and SR-71 library.

You may order this book directly from Jerry:

Jerry Moncree
P.O. Box 1151
Penn Valley, CA 95946

Outside CA. $19.00+ $2.00 shipping; California- $18.68 + $1.32 Tax =$20.00 Copy + $2.00 postage.

Toward the Unknown, The U-2 Spyplane - A New History of the Early Years

Chris Pocock
Schiffer Publishing -2000 (288 pages- Hardbound ISBN 0-7643-1113-1)
Comments: Another excellent book on the U-2 by Chris. This book covers up to the Powers trial and slightly beyond. Chris' focused on the early years as this era in U-2 history is just now being declassified, Chris in his usual thorough style lays out the early U-2 program history and puts it in relationship to the happens of the time. A must have for the U-2 aficionado.

You can check out Chris' latest book on line at the publishers,

Blackbird Rising: Birth of an Aviation Legend

Donn A. Byrnes & Kenneth D. Hurley
Publisher: Sage Mesa Publishers -2000 (343 pages, softbound, ISBN: 0-9673327-0-2)
Comments: An excellent new book on the birth of the SR-71 from the Air Force perspective. Both Donn and Ken were involved in Air Force programs that eventually lead to the SR-71. An great look at the inside of developing programs, and testing of a new platform. I've been waiting for a book like this since I became interested in the SR-71.

Order this directly from the publishers if your local bookseller doesn't stock it at:

The Lockheed U-2Dragon Lady, Warbird Tech Series, Vol. 16

Dennis R. Jenkins
Specialty Press Publishers - 1998 (100 pages-softbound, ISBN 1-58007-009-4)
Comments: Good coverage of the early years, and some great photos, and drawings from tech manuals. Two thumbs up, a good book for the collection!

The CIA and the U-2 Program 1954-1974

Gregory W. Pedlow and Donald E. Welzenbach
Publishers: Center for the Study of Intelligence -1998 (333 pgs, softbound)
Comments: The CIAs version of their use of the U-2 from inception to closing down the ROCAF assisted overflights of mainland China in 1974. They have a web page with info on purchasing and downloading:

War-Tech Series: Lockheed SR-71/YF-12 Blackbirds, Volume 10

Dennis R. Jenkins
Publisher: Specialty Press Publishers and Wholesellers -1997(100 pages, softbound, ISBN 0-933424-75-2)
Comments: Good book on the A-12, YF, and SR family of aircraft, also covers the D-21. Two pages of color pictures, but with loads of black & white pix. Also has some diagrams from Air Force, NASA and Lockheed pubs on the aircraft.

Lockheed SR-71: The Mach 3 Blackbird

Paul F. Crickmore
Publisher: ? -1997(? 1987, see comments below)(128 pages, softbound, ISBN ?)
Comments: See comments on "SR-71 BLACKBIRD, Lockheed's Mach 3 Hot Shot", it's the same book but with different front and back cover. So if you have Crickmore's"SR-71 BLACKBIRD, Lockheed's Mach 3 Hot Shot", don't bother with this one!

SR-71 Revealed: The Untold Story

Richard Graham
Publisher: Motorbooks International - 1996 (224 pages-softbound, ISBN 0-7603-0122-0)
Comments: Richard Graham former SR pilot and 9 SRW Wing Commander, writes about the life of a SR pilot, from application to becoming a SR pilot, through leaving the program. This is the best book on what it was like to be in "The Program", and fly the SR-71. If you only get one SR book, this should be it!
ORDERING INFO: Call Zenith Books at 1-800-626-6600 and it's item #122803AP, OR you can send Richard a check for $18.95(US)(includes shipping) made out to: "Richard Graham" at 3501 Hearst Castle Way, Plano, TX 75025-3702 and he'll send you an autographed copy of his book! (Texas residents add $1.40 for tax per book)- Please mention that you saw this on my web page, Thanks

The Dragon Lady Meets the Challenge: The U-2 in Desert Storm

Coy F. Cross II, 9 RW Historian
9 RW Historical Office - 1996 (128 pgs-softbound)
Comments: History of the U-2 involvement in Desert Shield/Storm. Great reading and lots of great info.
Ordering info:
Dr. Coy Cross
6000 C St.
Beale AFB, CA 95903

SR-71 Blackbird

James Goodall
Squadron/Signal Publications - 1995 (80 pages-softbound, ISBN 0-89747-338-8)
Comments: Many, many photos and interesting facts, and data, by one of the Blackbirds biggest fans

The Untouchables

Brian Shul and Walter Watson
Mach 1, Inc. - 1993 (215 pages-hardbound, ISBN 0-929823-12-5)
Comments: Written by the Pilot/Rso crew of Shul and Watson, about their three exciting 1986 Libyan post bombing assessment recon flights. Great photos and mission details about what it's like to fly the SR from both the Pilot's and RSO's perspective. Also for the first time, numerous fascinating recollections from the maintainers, both military and civilian, who were silent for so long,and were so vital to every mission.
   Ordering info:
   Gallery One Publishing
   515 D St Suite 3
   Marysville, CA 95901
   PH- 530-742-1000

LOCKHEED SR-71-The Secret Missions Exposed

Rewrite with additional flight info is available

Paul F. Crickmore
Osprey Aerospace - 1993 (222 pgs-hardbound, ISBN 1-85532-313-3)
Comments: Excellent data, history and b&w; pictures (some color). Amazing accounts of the A-12 flights and pictures (not too many of these previously released). Rare b&w; pictures of the D-21 mounted on M-21 on ground and in the air! If you have the first edition don't waste your money on the second, not enough new info to be worth the price!

SR-71 Pilot's Manual

US Air Force & Lockheed
Motorbooks International - 1992 ( ??? pages-softbound, ISBN 0-87938-658-4)
Comments: SR-71A-1, this is it the pilot's manual for the SR-71, Sadly out-of-print......

Sled Driver, Flying the World's Fastest Jet

Brian Shul, Mach 1, Inc. - 1991 (151 pages- hardbound, ISBN 0-929823-08-7)
Comments: Great photos and an insight into flying this great plane, written by former SR pilot.
Sadly out of Print, though it is being republished in a Limited Edition, with more photos and stories,

SR-71 Inside Lockheed's BLACKBIRD

Michael O'Leary, Eric Schulzinger
Motorbooks International Publishers and Wholesalers - 1991 (128 pgs- softbound, ISBN 0-87938-541-3)
Comments: Excellent all color pictures - Famous 11 plane group portrait, pictures from last record breaking flight, and NASA planes and simulators.

BLACK MAGIC, Americas Spyplanes: SR-71 and U-2

Michael O'Leary, Eric Schulzinger
Motorbooks International Publishers and Wholesalers - 1989 (144 pgs-hardbound, ISBN 0-87938-358-5)
Comments: Excellent pictures of both planes all in color in air and at base.

Recce Tech

Paul Crickmore
Osprey Publishing - 1989 (128 pgs-softbound, ISBN 0-85045-908-7)
Comments: Photo book of RF-4 Phantoms and U-2s (NASA and USAF), all in color

Black Cat Squadron

by Chris Pocok and Ong Tai Shen
Publisher: Linking Publishing, Taipei, 1990 (260 pages-sofbound, ISBN 0-957-08-0313-4)
Comments: It's hard to comment on this book, as it's written in Chinese, but it has some interesting photos. Out of Print

Dragon Lady, The History of the U-2 Spyplane

Chris Pocock
Motorbooks International - 1989 (214 pages-softbound, ISBN 0-87938-393-3)
Comments: The most thorough and BEST book on the history of the U-2.

Lockheed Blackbirds

Anthony M. Thornborough, Peter E. Davies
Motorbooks International Publishers and Wholesalers - 1988 (143 pgs- softbound, ISBN 0-87938-340-2)
Comments: Great b&w; and color pictures of all variants of U-2 and SR-71 families. Many sketches showing differences between models. Several good drifts sight views from U-2 cockpit.

U-2 Spyplane in Action, Aircraft No. 86

Larry Davis
Squadron/signal Publications - 1988 (50 pages-softbound, ISBN 0-89747-202-0)
Comments: Good b&w; pictures and history of development of U-2. Good sketches showing details of various features of the planes and variants.

Lockheed U-2R/ TR-1, Aerofax Minigraph 28

Jay Miller and Chris Pocock
Aerofax, Inc. - 1988 (56 pages-softbound, ISBN 0-942548-43-4)
Comments: Great photos, and drawings of many of the different U-2 variants. Many, many close-up photos and drawings of U-2 details. Follow-up to Aerograph 3.

SR-71 BLACKBIRD, Lockheed's Mach 3 Hot Shot

Paul F. Crickmore
Osprey Publishing Limited - 1987 (128 pgs-softbound, ISBN 0-85045-794-7)
Comments: Excellent all color pictures of SR-71, U-2's, KC-135Q and T- 38's on ground and air. Many refueling pictures plus ground support and closeups of the Blackbirds undercarriage.

US Spyplanes

Erik Simonsen
Warbirds Illustrated No. 24
Arms and Armour Press Limited - 1987 (72 pgs-softbound, ISBN 0-85368-626-2)
Comments: Excellent b&w; pictures mainly of A-12, YF-12A and SR-71 plus several pg. of U-2's and D-21's (one picture with B-52 in air with two D- 21's under wings).

Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

Paul F. Crickmore
Osprey Publishing Limited - 1986 (200 pgs-softbound, ISBN 0-85045-653-3)
Comments: Excellent b&w; pictures and history of A-12, YF-12A and SR-71. Pictures taken from post Libya bombing in 1986. Many pictures of planes in various stages of construction and repair. Of the few color picture there are two notable ones: A J-58 mounted in the test stand with the afterburner section glowing red-orange and another spectacular picture of a massive flame emanating from one engine during a 1986 Mildenhall Open Day!

American Spyplanes

Mike Spick
Osprey Combat Aircraft Series
Osprey Publishing Ltd. - 1986 (48 pgs-softbound, ISBN 0-85045-719-X)
Comments: Mostly b&w; with a few color pictures. About 60-40 U-2 vs SR-71 in content. Very brief information content.

Lockheed SR-71 (A-12 / YF-12 / D-21), Aerofax Minigraph 1

Jay Miller
Aerofax Minigraph 1 - 1985 (40 pgs-softbound, ISBN 0-942548-25-6)
Comments: Many many great b&w; pictures of development and testing of all variants of SR-71. Pictures of front & back seats of YF-12A and a excellent set of pictures of D-21's (GTD-21A's & B's) for A-12 (M-12) and B-52H respectively.

Lockheed U-2, Aerograph 3

Jay Miller
Aerofax, Inc. - 1983 (124 pages-softbound, ISBN 0-942548-04-3)
Comments: Great photos, and drawings of many of the different U-2 variants. Many, many close-up photos and drawings of U-2 details.

Lockheed SR-71 (A-12 / YF-12 / D-21), Aerofax Minigraph 1

Jay Miller
Aerofax, Inc. - 1983 (18 pages-softbound, ISBN: none)
Comments: First version of Minigraph 1, black & white photos. Out of Print.

SR-71 Blackbird in action, Aircraft No. 55

Lou Drendel
Squadron/Signal Publication - 1982 (47 pgs-softbound, ISBN 0-89747-136-9)
Comments: Good b&w; pictures and history of development of A-12, YF-12A and SR-71A & B. Brief comments on D-21 with good sketches showing details of various features of the planes.

Operation Overflight: The U-2 Spy Pilot Tells His Story for the First Time

Francis Gary Powers with Curt Gentry
Holt, Rinehart and Winston - 1970 (376 pages-hardbound, ISBN 03-083045-1)
Comments: Gary Powers version of the shootdown on May 1 1960, and what happened after his capture. Good book, sadly out of print!.

Skunk Works Books

Skunk Works, A Personal Memoir of My Years at Lockheed

Ben R. Rich and Leo Janos
Little, Brown & Co. - 1994 (370 pages-hardbound (also in softbound), ISBN 0-316-74330-5)
Comments: A good insight into the Skunk Works and Ben Rich.

Lockheed's Skunk Works, The First Fifty Years-The Official History

Jay Miller
Aerofax, Inc. - 1993 (216 pages-softbound, ISBN 0-942548-56-6)
Comments: THE DEFINITIVE HISTORY ON THE SKUNK WORKS AND IT'S PRODUCTS. Written with the complete cooperation of Lockheed! It has no equal. (There is also an updated version.)

Lockheed Skunk Works

Steve Pace
?? (216 pages-hardbound, ISBN )
Comments: Many mistakes and incorrect info. Don't waste your money, get the "Lockheed Skunk Works, The First Fifty Years" by Jay Miller.

Kelly, More Than My Share of it All

Clearance "Kelly" Johnson with Maggie Smith
Smithsonian Institution - 1989 (209 pages-softbound (also in hardbound), ISBN 0-87474-491-1)
Comments: A must have, if your a Kelly Johnson fan. Kelly tells his own story!

Related Books

Strategic and Tactical Aerial Reconnaissance in the Near East

Colonel Charles P. Wilson
Washington Institute Press- May 1999 (125 pp., ISBN 0-944029-31-0)
Former National Defense Fellow Colonel Wilson discusses the contribution of aerial manned reconnaissance to U.S. policy in the Middle East.
Comments: A very interesting book, on Aerial Reconnaissance, manned and unmanned, and how it relates to policy making in our government. Very interesting images and graphics. A must read for the recce head!

You can view a section of this book at:
Or you can order a copy at:

Pebbles in the Stream, A History of Beale AFB and Neighboring Areas

Peggy Nal
Nevada County Historical Society - 1993 (118 pages-softbound, ISBN 0-915641-05-4)
Comments: A brief history of Beale Air Force Base, CA and the surrounding counties.

Stealth Technology: The Art of Black Magic

J. Jones
TAB Aero Books - 1989 (ISBN 0-8306-8381-X)
Comments: Talks about materials, design and proposed aircraft.

Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker, Modern Combat Aircraft 27

Robert F. Dorr
Motorbooks/Ian Allen Printing- 1987 (112 pages-small hardbound, ISBN 0-7110-1745-X)
Comments: Great book on a fabulous series of aircraft, by a great aviation author.

Lockheed Aircraft since 1913

Rene Francillon
Naval Institute Press - 1982/ 1987(Second Edition), (ISBN 0-87021-897-2)
Comments: All the airplanes that Lockheed has built. This book is out of print

Blackbird Videos

Mission SR-71 Blackbird

Aviation Heritage Series/ Non Fiction Video - 1991 (approx 45 minutes)
Comments: Borrow it from someone and watch it first.

SR-71 Blackbird, The Secret Vigil

Aviation Week Video - 1989 (approx 1 hour)
Comments: One of the Best. Was recently shown on Discovery or Learning Channel, so keep your eyes open and vcrs ready.



Kelly's Way: Kelly Johnson and his Skunk Works
Flight Test Historical Foundation - 19??



SR-71 Blackbird, with "Letter to Kelly Johnson"

Flight Test Historical Foundation - ??

Comments: Great Footage, a must have, though most of the video you already seen 'cause this is the footage you see al the time. But this is the original footage!.... And the "Letter to Kelly Johnson" is done by one of the crew that worked on the "SR-71 Blackbird" film, even more great footage, a great message....






Aviation Book & Video Sellers

Aeroplane Books

114 Deer Path Rd.
Willaimsburg, VA 23188-2208
Info/Fax: 804-565-4814
Orders: 800-447-8890
Web page:
Comments: Sells and has a large selection of used aviation books, but does also sell new books.

Air Force Flight Test Museum

AFFTC Museum
405 S Rosamond Blvd
Edwards AFB CA 93524
Also, folks can go to the museum support foundation site at

Comments: Lots of Aviation books and videos and other way cool stuff you buy from them and you're supporting a good cause!


Ross & Perry, Inc. Publishers

216 G Street, NE
Washington, D.C. 20002
Phone: 202-675-8300
Fax: 801-459-7535
Web page:
Comments: Publish Flight Manuals for lots of AF aircraft, notably the U-2C, YF-12A, and SR-71

Zenith Books

P.O. Box 1
Osceola, WI 54020
Comments: Many, many, many aviation books and videos.

Lockheed Employees Recreation Club (LERC)

1011 Lockheed Way
Palmdale, CA 93599-3720
Comments: Books and videos related to Lockheed and the Skunk Works

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Questions, comments, problems, additions....please email John