Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird
The “AMAZING” Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird is arguably the GREATEST airplane of all-time and its superb service record says it all. The SR-71 is a true legend in aviation history and was way ahead of her time. She flew faster than a speeding bullet and broke the world record: an “absolute altitude record” of 85,069 feet (25,929 m). No fighter plane or missile could catch the super-fast SR-71 Blackbird.
The SR-71 Blackbird was so fast, she set a speed record every time she took to the skies. NASA retired the SR-71 in 1999 and her last flight was another speed record which still stands today. The SR-71 was and still is the world’s fastest and highest-flying operational manned aircraft. All of her speed records are classified but we do know she flew at MACH 3+ which is 2,301.81 MPH and beyond.
Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird Facts – The Insane Engineering of the SR-71 Blackbird
SR-71 pilot Brian Shul states in his book The Untouchables that he flew in excess of Mach 3.5 on April 15, 1986 over Libya to evade a missile. SR-71 pilot James V. Sullivan and Noel F. Widdifield, reconnaissance systems officer (RSO) holds the “speed over a recognized course” record for flying from New York to London.
They flew a distance of distance 3,461.53 miles (5,570.79 km) at an average speed of 1,806.964 miles per hour (2,908.027 km/h). They made this flight in only 1 hour 54 minutes and 56.4 seconds on September 1, 1974. The average speed was about Mach 2.72, including deceleration for in-flight refueling. This is one more record that still stands today!
SR-71 Blackbird Top Speed
I mentioned earlier that the SR-71 Blackbird Top Speed is classified. However, we do have access to information that is not classified that will give us an idea of how fast this bird can really fly. During flight testing , the SR-71 reached a top speed of Mach 3.4 on December 22, 1964. This was the very first time the SR-71 Blackbird stretched her wings. She took off from Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California.
She made history that day with her first speed record with many more to come. Every time the SR-71 took to the skies, it was historic. The SR-71 Blackbird is the only airplane in the history of aviation to have a resume quite like this. After all, this airplane does fly faster than a missile! Only Superman himself could catch up with this bird.
Each of the Blackbird’s reconnaissance missions were records breakers in themselves. Every time the Blackbird flew, she broke another speed or altitude record. This airplane got better and faster with each flight. This plane was destined for greatness as soon as it was drawn onto to piece of paper.
The SR-71 was created because of project Archangel which began in 1958. Project Archangel was a project for designing high-altitude surveillance aircraft. Out of this program came the infamous U-2 Spy-plane. Even though she was a great surveillance and reconnoissance aircraft, she was also extremely vulnerable.
In 1960, disaster would strike the CIA’s U-2 program and created a very serious National incident that was very embarrassing to the United States. The downing of Francis Gary Powers’s U-2 underscored its vulnerability and the need for faster reconnaissance aircraft such as the A-12 which would later become the LEGENDARY SR-71 Blackbird.
Battle Stations – SR-71 Blackbird Stealth Plane -Full Documentary
American aerospace engineer Clarence “Kelly” Johnson is the father of the “LEGENDARY” SR-71 Blackbird and the infamous U-2 Spy-plane. He was one of the most talented engineers at Lockheed and its famous Skunk Works division. Clarence “Kelly” Johnson was responsible for many of the SR-71’s design’s and innovative concepts.
The SR-71 served with the U.S. Air Force from 1964 to 1998 and served with NASA to 1999. A total of 32 SR-71’s were built. During her service, 12 were lost due to accidents but incredibly, none were ver lost due to enemy action. She was designed to outfly any threat in the sky and she did it better than any other aircraft in history.
Over the many years in service, the SR-71 has been given several nicknames, including “Blackbird” and “Habu”. For those of you that don’t know what a Habu is, I’ll give you a quick explanation. Protobothrops flavoviridis is a species of venomous pit viper endemic to the Ryukyu Islands of Japan and are famous for their lightning fast strike capability.
The SR-71 was originally designed to be powered by the Pratt & Whitney J58 engine. However, development ran over schedule and it was equipped with the far less powerful Pratt & Whitney J75 engine. The J58s were retrofitted as they became available. The standard power-plant for all subsequent aircraft in the series (A-12, YF-12, M-21), as well as the SR-71 Blackbird.
SR-71 Blackbird Speed Record
There are more than just one SR-71 Blackbird Speed Record. There are countless speed and altitude records the SR-71 holds and many of them still stand today. On March 6, 1990, Lt. Col. Joseph T. Vida and Lt. Col. Raymond E. Yeilding piloted the SR-71 S/N 61-7972 on its final Senior Crown flight and set four brand new speed records in the process:
- Kansas City, Missouri, to Washington, D.C., distance 942 miles (1,516 km), at an average speed of 2,176 miles per hour (3,502 km/h), and an elapsed time of 25 minutes 59 seconds.
- West Coast to East Coast, distance 2,404 miles (3,869 km), an average speed of 2,124.5 miles per hour (3,419.1 km/h), and an elapsed time of a 67 minutes 54 seconds.
- St. Louis, Missouri, to Cincinnati, Ohio, distance 311.4 miles (501.1 km), at an average speed of 2,189.9 miles per hour (3,524.3 km/h), and an elapsed time of 8 minutes 32 seconds.
- Los Angeles, California, to Washington, D.C., distance 2,299.7 miles (3,701.0 km), average speed 2,144.8 miles per hour (3,451.7 km/h), and an elapsed time of 64 minutes 20 seconds.
These four speed records were accepted by the National Aeronautic Association (NAA), they are the recognized body for aviation records in the United States. Additionally, the Air & Space/Smithsonian reported that the Air Force clocked the SR-71 at one point in its flight reaching 2,242.48 miles per hour (3,608.92 km/h).
After the Los Angeles–Washington flight, on March 6, 1990, Senator John Glenn addressed the United States Senate, blasting the Department of Defense for not using the SR-71 to its full potential. Although Senator Glenn may have been right in his criticism. The SR-71 was part of the black program. Some experts have speculated that she flew at Mach 4+.
Lockheed SR 71 Blackbird Documentary – A look at the SR-71
The SR-71 Blackbird is arguably and in my humble opinion, the greatest airplane of all-time. That’s a pretty bold statement considering other great aircraft past and current. This airplane is a true legend and exceeded its design capabilities. Every once in a while an airplane like this comes along and revolutionizes the way man flies. The SR-71 Blackbird is one of those special airplanes.
There were 3 variants of the SR-71 Blackbird. The SR-71A is the main production variant and was the workhorse for the United States Air Force, CIA and NASA. The second variant is the SR-71B which was strictly used as a trainer and the final variant is the SR-71C which was a hybrid aircraft.
She was composed of the forward fuselage from an SR-71 static test unit and the rear fuselage of the first YF-12A (S/N 60-6934). The YF-12 had been wrecked in a 1966 landing accident. This hybrid SR-71C Blackbird was not quite straight and had a yaw at supersonic speeds. The SR-71 pilots nicknamed her “The Bastard”.
There has been lots of speculation about the SR-71’s successor. That’s all we can do is speculate because the program is classified. Just imagine what the capabilities are with this new aircraft. The “Top Secret” aircraft codenamed Aurora is rumored to be in operation. Whether it’s the Aurora or not. It has to be something special to replace the SR-71 Blackbird!
Fly The “AMAZING” SR-71 Blackbird!
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Jump into the cockpit of a real SR-71 Blackbird and see what the Earth looks like from 85,000 feet. The view from your cockpit view is spectacular as you fly at Mach 3+ and beyond! You are moments away from one heck of a ride and it starts with a click of a button.
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Fly the “Legendary” Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird by clicking on the orange button NOW! If you have any comments or questions about the SR-71 Blackbird. Please leave them below now and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. I answer every inquiry so you are GUARANTEED to get a response. Don’t be shy, I’d love to hear from you. Thank you for spending your valuable time with us today!
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