Blackbirds ended the Yom Kippur War: "An average mission was probably three-and-a-half to four hours. A long mission would be eight or more. Through the whole history of the programme, through 22 years, we had 13 sorties that were over 11 hours; very, very long missions. But they were very rare.
"Twelve of those missions were flown out of the East Coast of the United States during the Yom Kippur War in 1973, and we flew to the Middle East and all the way back to the East Coast, and the product was given straight to the President. The President wanted to find out whether the Arabs and the Israelis had really moved back from the front line like they said they did. We went over there, took the imagery, came back and showed photographic proof they were both lying about where their forces were. He called both countries and said, 'Get them back, I've got proof you're not where you're supposed to be.' That’s what ended the Yom Kippur War."
Beware the Soviet MiG-25: "Normally you wouldn't be aware of one, but it takes a perfect storm to see this. I was cruising up to a place called Petropavlosvsk, it's at the end of the Kamchatka Peninsula. Up there the Soviet Union had a major nuclear facility and also a nuclear sub pen. And we'd go up and image the southern part of the peninsula. On the way up, we'd refuelled off the coast of Japan, I'm climbing back up, cruising at Mach 3, and I look down. Probably 200 miles (320km) off the nose I could see – because it was a nice clear day, which you normally don't get – there were no clouds and they were contrailing. It was a perfect storm that I could see them contrailing. They were three MiG-25s in a clockwise orbit. As I got closer, probably 100 miles (160km) out, I'm up at 75,000 feet (23km), they're down here at about 30,000 feet (9km), I saw them come off trail and they're contrailing in a straight line. Now they're in a trail formation about 10 miles (16km) apart. From then on, I saw that the contrail stopped which I assumed they had lit their afterburners and they're trying to intercept me. All three went right by underneath me. No problem at all."
Windscreens doubled as make-shift ovens: "We took up a drink of choice, it came in a squeeze bottle like you see with marathon runners and cyclists, and the tube would fit in the right hand side of the helmet - there was a little iris. You push the tube through there and you could squeeze out the water, Gatorade, iced tea, whatever your drink of choice was. That's how you stayed hydrated. To stay nourished during a long flight you could take up tube food, and the tube food came in giant size toothpaste dispensers, if you will. My favourite I took up for dinner was macaroni cheese and beef and gravy, and butterscotch pudding and vanilla pudding for dessert. And it worked on the same principle. You squeeze a feeding tube into each container, push it through the feeding port and squeeze the food into your mouth, and that kept you nourished during flight.
"I found out one little trick to do. If I took that tube and jammed it against my window in the front windscreen – which at the outside is 622F (328C) at Mach 3.2 and the inside probably between 300 and 350F (149-177F). And if I gave it about a minute and a half on both sides and squeezed the tube to nominalise the temperature, it went down a lot better warm than it did cold. You improvise up there, and that was my in-flight oven."