© 2024 Wyoming Public Media
800-729-5897 | 307-766-4240
Wyoming Public Media is a service of the University of Wyoming
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Transmission & Streaming Disruptions

Spying from On High #364: John S. Bugas Papers

On July 24, 1964, President Johnson announced the existence of an impressively advanced Air Force plane, the SR-71. Designed for reconnaissance during the height of the Cold War, it could survey tens of thousands of square miles in a short one-hour trip.

The two-person crew of the plane had to be prepared for rigorous flight conditions. They dressed in full-pressure flight suits, similar to those worn by astronauts.

Built to travel at three times the speed of sound, the sleek aircraft was only 107 feet long. It was a high-flying spy plane, operating at an altitude of more than 80,000 feet. Flying the SR-71 across the US took little more than an hour, but such fast speeds caused distressing sonic booms. Civilians were reminded that the occasional sonic boom was a small price to pay as the Air Force went about protecting the U.S. from foreign military hostilities.

See the John S. Bugas papers at UW’s American Heritage Center to learn more about the Air Force’s remarkable SR-71 aircraft.

For more information, visit the American Heritage Center site.