Brian Shul
U.S. Air Force Pilot (ret.) of the SR-71 Blackbird

Home Country: USA

From attack pilot in the U.S. Air Force to extraordinary aviator of the world’s fastest plane, the story of Brian Shul is awe-inspiring. While flying secret ops toward the end of the Vietnam War, Shul was shot down while flying his AT-28 aircraft near the Cambodian border. He survived a harsh crash landing in the jungle, but was trapped inside a fiery cockpit. Just as his helmet visor began to melt, he managed to free himself and crawl from the flaming wreckage – all while severely burned. A Special Operations Pararescue team extracted Shul by helicopter from hostile territory and evacuated him to a military hospital where he was not expected to survive his burns.

One year and 15 surgeries later, Shul decided to never quit. He changed his attitude and astonished the military world by overcoming his traumatic injuries and passing every flight physical demanded of him in order to fly again. After flying fighter jets for 10 years, he applied to pilot the super-secret SR-71 Blackbird. Just to qualify, Shul underwent a physical exam akin to that of an astronaut. He passed with no waivers or setbacks.

With a titanium pin in his finger and nerves of steel, he became part of an elite group of pilots skilled enough to fly the famed spy plane. On stealth missions around the world, he rocketed at sonic speeds with unyielding precision. He united man and machine at the edge of space. And he showcased unrivalled performance in the face of 1,000-degree heat. Inside the world’s most extreme aircraft, nothing could match the sonic boom and thrill of exceeding Mach 3. Nothing, except for the light that shined within.

Today, Major Brian Shul is a writer, photographer and in-demand public speaker. Above all, though, he is an inspiration and proof that with the right attitude, all things are possible.

“The smallest change in attitude in our lives can affect the greatest part of the rest of our lives.”

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