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Jan 25, 2023

This week, we are celebrating our most downloaded episode of the OldGuyTalksToMe Podcast. In this episode, I talked with Brian Shul, pilot of the world's Fastest Airplane, the SR 71, and a retired major in the United States Air Force (USAF).


He flew 212 combat missions and was shot down near the end of the war. He was so badly burned that he was given no chance to live. Surviving, he returned to full flight status, flying the SR-71 Blackbird.

Major Shul completed a 20-year career in the Air Force. After 20 years and 5000 hours in fighter jets, Shul retired from the Air Force in 1990 and went on to pursue his writing and photographic interests.

He has written four books on aviation and runs a photo studio in Marysville, California.

Near the end of hostilities in 1973, his T-28 aircraft was shot down in the vicinity of the Cambodian border. Recovery from the burns took several months and 15 major operations.

Physicians told him he'd never fly again. Months of physical therapy followed, enabling Shul to eventually pass a flight physical and return to active flying duty.


Two days after being released from the hospital, Shul was back flying Air Force fighter jet aircraft.

Shul volunteered for and was selected to fly the SR-71. This assignment required an astronaut-type physical just to qualify, and Shul passed without waivers.

Shul's comeback story has been the subject of numerous magazine articles conscious and teaching them how to better survive such incidents.

In addition to running his own photo studio in northern California, he has authored seven books on flying and flight photography.

His first two books (Sled Driver: Flying The World's Fastest Jet and The Untouchables) are about flying the SR-71 Blackbird and give the reader a first-hand account of being in the cockpit of the world's fastest jet.


A bit about me (Dr. Orest Komarnyckyj)

Dr. Orest Komarnyckyj enjoyed a prestigious career as a periodontal regenerative surgeon moving to a new passion in June 2018. He retired after a 33-year career to pursue new passions. At 70 Dr. Orest has taken on a new role as an Interviewer, Podcaster, and government-certified Old Guy. He streams from his new home in Las Vegas, NV. He lives with his wife of 30 years, Oksana. His status as an empty-nester with two college-employed children has left him with time and energy to share decades of successes, failures, and wisdom.




00:00 - Precap

00:23 - Intro

01:32 - Top downloaded podcast

02:26 - Guest Introduction

03:18 - What’s the most important thing you have done today?

04:04 - Now at your age, How is attitude affecting your life?

05:24 - “People wanna be around people with good attitudes!”

05:42 - Attitude is everything!

08:22 - How did getting off the plane change your life?

09:56 - Everything will be fine. There is a red cross.

13:37 - What was going through your mind when you had an attitudinal change?

15:23 - I am not gonna go out with a bad attitude.

16:00 - A change of attitude can change everything.

17:06 - Was there a purpose?

18:38 - I did not have a purpose.

19:41 - You cannot fly again.

19:56 - Commercial starts

20:28 - Commercial ends

21:12 - You started flying.

22:16 - The sky's the limit.

24:22 - The plane leaks fuel.

28:00 - Marvel of the engineering

30:00 - How many miles does it take to make a turn?

31:55 - What are the incredible things you experience while flying?

34:45 - Starlight was illuminating everything.

36:31 - Jet could have broken

37:35 - Did you have the parachutes?

38:04 - Outro