I've realized that nowadays there are switches present on most modern aircraft which electrically adjust the height of the seating position, and I was wondering if that mechanism was present on the SR-71? The reason why I wonder this is because the pilot's visibility was quite restricted in terms of forward visibility which would only make everything worse if the pilot happened to be shorter than other pilots in the unit. enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ The Air Force was the first to recognize the importance of making everything adjustable, to keep their pilots from having accidents. thestar.com/news/insight/… $\endgroup$ Nov 29, 2023 at 2:09

1 Answer 1


According to the POH the pilot could indeed move the seat up and down

enter image description here (source)

Its worth noting that the SR-71 was a spy plane and visibility from the cockpit was not necessarily a critical aspect of the design. The aircrafts primary role was to cary photographic and sensor equipment, not to spot things from the front seat.

  • $\begingroup$ Very interesting. It does make sense that forward visibility was never a priority, I just think it would be harder for the pilot to see in front visually when approaching a runway for landing. Nevertheless, thank you. I was looking all over for this and couldn't find it. $\endgroup$
    – M66
    Nov 28, 2023 at 17:04
  • $\begingroup$ @M66 the RSO could adjust their seat as well, if you look at the blurb it states the RSO had 6.75 inches of adjustment. $\endgroup$
    – Dave
    Nov 28, 2023 at 17:05

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