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    isn’t this plane capable of Mach 2- which is like 1400mph+ ? and wasn’t it also drafted and designed in the 80s…?


    Introduced back in the 60’s, not the 80’s. It was just a really well kept secret.

    As far as speed, confirmed mach 3 and a half, speculated to hit somewhere around mach 5.


    This is 50 year old technology; makes you wonder what’s out there now.


    Airflow isn’t good enough to hit Mach 6. Cruising speed for the engines was Mach 3.2 which is 2100+ mph


    Lockheed SR-71A blackbird. Ultra stealth reconnaissance aircraft, since decommissioned and superseded by the F117 Stealth Fighter. It can exit the atmosphere to take pictures of ground level, and is able to see if a coin lands heads or tails from three miles up.

    3 are left in existence, 1 of which is still in flyable condition, 1 of the decomissioned ones is located here locally to myself in San Antonio at Lackland AFB here


    blackbird singing in the dead of nighhhhtttttttt


    there’s a lot of them still in existance- i think we only lost three in crashes. they’re all in museums- i believe the exception is used by NASA. i’ve seen them at the museum of flight in WA DC, the air museum in McMinneville, OR- where the Spruce Goose is, and here in Seattle there is one with a THIRD ENGINE mounted on it.

    tiki god

    Kaze: I could have sworn that NASA has 3 or 4 of them in active operation. I am apparently wrong though


    and that is fuel leaking out of it- they couldn’t make gaskets that didn’t melt at speed, so it would take off- leaking like a seive, and then be refueled in air. once it was hot- the seams expanded and sealed it tight.


    i want the x-men version! hopefully with rogue, storm and kitty pride wearing their battle suits in there waiting for me!


    – the reason for the fuel leaks on the ground is the fuselage panels had to be loose-fitting due to thermal expansion when traveling at Mach 3+. Also, it was refueled in the air because it wasn’t designed to takeoff at full load. It had to be light to get airborne (without a ridiculous takeoff speed), so they put enough fuel in to get it in the air and to a tanker.
    There’s another one here, at the Air Force Armament Museum, part of Eglin Air Force Base.


    I remember some pilot talking about his experience in one. He said he wondered if it could even get off the ground it sounded so bad, but once it got up there in altitude, everything was just perfect.

    Beautiful jet, just awesome to look at.


    equate the power to two supercharged v12s with a lawn chair between them.

    wow. def my favorite plane period.


    Love the fuel leaking out of its joints in that picture, it looks to have just been refueled. At those speeds, the skin heats up and the joints swelled shut, but loitering at just above stall speed to get fueled. Its fuel was also its hydraulic fluid.

    FlappyCunt: Mach 3.2+ actually, and it was designed in the 50’s, around the time I was born IIRC.

    suicydking: I’d say 3.6 max, considering the lack of computer control and just how damn finicky those engines were.

    Kaze: It really wasn’t built to function as stealth, it’s speed was supposed to make it invulnerable to missiles. It was more of a stealth study. Wiki


    The SR-71 Blackbird… The first plane I ever had a crush on…


    Here in Minnesota, a bunch of National Guard volunteers proudly rebuilt an A-12; only to have it be commandeered by the CIA as a lawn ornament.
    Let Freedom Ring!


    I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that they use cehvy big blocks to fire the engines when they are ready to fly the thing.

    Amazing looking. Definately a classic jet.


    That should read “Chevy big blocks”


    Certainly one of the most beautiful airplanes has ever created. I had the privilege of living in the place where they were tested for various reasons for years, how many people can say that they have seen three off the take off and fly in formation overhead at the same time. Blackbird park in Palmdale has two of them i think, as well as the test package they used to mount to the top and a few engines out on display. can be seen


    tiki god: Nope, as bytehead pointed out on the wikipedia article see here

    bytehead: They tried different stuff for stealth, granted it didn’t work all that well, but what they tried was working, which is why they moved on their research into different planes since then.


    They lost FAR more than three in crashes.

    As for top speed — they never found out. Because of the way the engines were designed (shockwave compression before the air even reached the turbines), the engines got more efficient as speed increased. The end result was the faster you were going, the easier it was to accelerate even further, up to the point where the plane would continue accelerating even after the throttles were pulled back to their pre-acceleration position. (Runaway acceleration was a worry!) The limit on top speed was the point at which the engine inlet cones disintegrated from the heat.


    @Jedi, reading the article you link it seems it was the Air Force who did the commandeering, not the CIA. Also, the ones who refurbish this beautiful aircraft (whose design began back in the 1950s, not the 60s) wasn’t arguing who had the right to the plane, but why theirs was choosen over other A-12/SR-71s available. I see their point, but it was more about fairness, not freedom.


    That thing looks like it is moving fast even when it is sitting still.
    Walking up to the one in the San Diego Air Museum is an amazing experience. I just wish they did not have all the anti-bird perch strips on it.

    It’s as sexy as the A10, but for exactly the opposite reasons.


    I was a kid growing up on Kadena AFB in Okinawa in the 70s. I’m not sure how many of those birds were stationed there, but I saw them taking off and landing 2-3 times a week. They were called “Habu”(a local poisonous snake) over there. It didn’t matter where you were on the base, the thunder of those engines on take-off made your teeth rattle, and you could still hear it long after it was out of sight.


    Kaze: :-p My point was that they weren’t depending on it being stealthy, they built it for speed.

    BTW, everything I wrote about before the Wikipedia was written before I looked up the URL for it on Wikipedia. :-p

    And yes, while the SR-71 is one damn sexy machine, the XB-70 was my airplane wet dream.


    I tried to pick an article that was moderate but informative; so I understand your point, based on that article.
    Unfortunately it does not really cover the loss felt by the men who acquired and rebuilt the plane using their own time, sweat and money; only to have the government then confiscate it as a lawn ornament for the CIA. Taken arbitrarily or not, I am not convinced of their right to do so.
    So, I hold to my initial opinion; Let Freedom Ring.


    thanks for the info. i didn’t know about the take off speed. but i do remember that they tried to find a suitable gasket material for the seams- but nothing would work. (it was a Discovery show). 50’s technology- it’s no wonder.

    i love these planes. i’d REALLY like to see what replaced them… and i’ve never seen anything about the one here with the third engine- even the museum doesn’t explain it! it’s mounted on top of the fuselage in a seperate “pod”. do you know anything about it?


    It’s not an engine — it’s a D-21 unmanned recon drone.


    , really? xb-80, thats like the concord gone ugly, comparing the SR-71 to the xb-80 is like comparing a buggatti veron to a mustang, they aren’t even in the same league.


    kiltedforbes: I’m an old fart, IIRC, the XB-70 was out to the public before the SR-71. I was 8 or 9 at the time.

    I’ve seen both at the Dayton Air Force Museum, the SR-71 is smaller than I thought it would be, and the XB-70 was bigger than I thought it would be. I actually got to touch the SR-71.


    Ah, the XB-70 Valkyrie. What a badass plane. I remember seeing it for the first time at Wright-Patterson AFB when I was a wee thing, maybe 7 years old, back in the ’60s.

    Here at Eglin, they have a bunch of cool planes on static display, including the SR-71, B-52, F-15, F-16, A-10. They have a MOAB bomb, a gun off an A-10…

    Here, y’all check it out for yourselves:


    Speaking of which, I forgot that NAS Jax is having their air show this weekend. The Blue Angels were out today practicing. Every had one of those jets fly overhead in your car 50 feet above your head? Yeah, I did as I was driving by the runway.

    Getting all the regular and spare batteries charged up for the still camera and the video camera. I’ll post ’em next week.


    I’ve seen the Thunderbids a bunch of times, but never the Blues. Won’t miss them this year at NAS Pensacola homecoming show.


    SR-71, fuck yeah


    NotJesus: I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Thunderbirds. Unlike most air shows, the Angels always show up at the NAS Jax shows. Then again, NAS Jax is their birthplace.

    Looks like I get to go tomorrow for the Military Day. My neighbor just asked me. 🙂 😀


    one of best looking machines ever built

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