About Brian Shul

Brian Shul graduated from East Carolina University in 1970 with a degree in History and Anthropology. For the next 20 years he served as an Air Force fighter pilot.  During the Vietnam War he flew 212 close air support missions.  Shot down near the Cambodian border, he was unable to eject and forced to ride his plane into the jungle.  Severely burned in the ensuing crash, he was given up for dead.  Rescued by Special Forces, Brian endured one year in military hospitals where he underwent 15 surgical procedures and was told he would never fly again.

After much physical therapy, Brian miraculously returned to active duty flying.  He flew the A-7D, was an instructor in the A-10, and went on to teach at the Air Force’s TopGun School. He culminated his Air Force career by flying our nation’s Top Secret spy plane, the SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest aircraft ever built.  Brian flew covert missions in the Blackbird for four years and was the pilot who provided President Reagan with detailed photos of Libyan terrorist camps in 1986. During that time, he became the only SR-71 pilot in history to fly three missions on three consecutive days.

Retiring from the Air Force in 1990, Brian pursued his writing and photography interests.  He was the first pilot to write a book about flying the Blackbird, completely illustrated with his own photography.  This book won Aviation Book of the Year honors and is today the single most popular book on that plane worldwide.  He is also the only man to fly extensively with both the Navy Blue Angels and Air Force Thunderbirds as a photo-journalist.

Brian’s remarkable comeback story has inspired audiences nationwide as he is in high demand as a keynote speaker.  Brian is a Spirit of Freedom Award winner, a Paul Harris Fellow, has appeared on the History Channel, and in 2011 was inducted into the Air Force Legends Hall of Fame.  Brian owns Gallery One in California where his nationally acclaimed nature photography is on display.

Join us for Major Shul’s keynote speech “The Sled Blackbird” on November 7, 2017 at IMVAC USA.