CharityBuzz - Rich Graham and the Link SR-71 "Blackbird" Simulator

This simulator was designed and built in 1963-1965 under great secrecy by Link—the company founded by Edwin Link, who fabricated his first flight simulation device in 1929. It is the only one ever produced and it was used to train SR-71 crews of the Air Force’s 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Beale AFB, California. While the simulator was undergoing a major upgrade in 1989, the Air Force cancelled its SR-71 operations. However, NASA was given three of the retired “Blackbirds“ for research purposes, and the upgraded simulator was shipped to the Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, California to support the NASA crews. Air Force and NASA crews shared the simulator when the Air Force reinstated SR-71 operations from 1994 to 1997, and NASA continued to fly the “Blackbird” until the 9th of October, 1999, the last flight ever for the SR-71.

The simulator was kept in a limited operational condition until it was decided to make it available for museum display in early 2006. 

Did you know?

The Simulator consists of four main components: a Pilot’s cockpit with integrated Instructor Operator Station (IOS); the Reconnaissance Systems Officer (RSO) Cockpit; the RSO’s IOS desk; and, a bank of computer and electronic cabinets which controlled power and software which emulated the capabilities and systems of the real aircraft.

About this...

All SR-71 Simulator components are on loan from the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
Lockheed S-71 "Blackbird" in flight as seen from a refueling tanker
Photo credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael Haggerty
Video courtesy of Erik Johnston
Video Credit: Uploaded to YouTube by Marshall Ross Thompson