ALEXANDRIA, Va. — U.S. Air Force Col. Rich Graham (retired), a decorated combat pilot who flew the SR-71 Blackbird on top secret reconnaissance missions for more than seven years, will be the keynote speaker at Flight Safety Foundation’s 61st annual Business Aviation Safety Summit (BASS 2016) scheduled for May 5–6 in Austin, Texas, the Foundation has announced.
“We are very excited that Col. Graham has agreed to be our keynote speaker at this year’s BASS. His diverse experience in aviation will provide a unique perspective on operational risk, and I’m sure that attendees at this year’s event will agree,” said Greg Marshall, FSF vice president, global programs.
During a 25-year-career in the Air Force, Graham flew 210 combat missions in the F-4 fighter over North Vietnam and Laos in the early 1970s, earning four Distinguished Flying Crosses and 19 Air Medals. He later spent hundreds of hours flying the high-altitude (85,000 ft.), high-speed (Mach 3+) SR-71 on long-range reconnaissance missions. He logged 4,600 hours in the Air Force, flying the T-33, T-37, T-38, F-4, SR-71, U-2 and KC-135Q aircraft.
After retiring from the Air Force, Graham joined American Airlines, where he spent 13 years, retiring in 2002 as a captain for the air carrier’s MD-80 fleet.
Graham is an author, having published three books on the SR-71, and he just finished a fourth. He also is a consultant and flight instructor, and is a mission and check pilot with the Civil Air Patrol squadron in Dallas.
For more information and to register for BASS 2016, please click here.
Flight Safety Foundation is an independent, non-profit, international organization engaged in research, education, advocacy and publishing to improve aviation safety. The Foundation's mission is to be the leading voice of safety for the global aerospace community.
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