Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

SR-71 Blackbird

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The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird entered the U.S. Air Force's inventory in 1966 as the fastest aircraft in the world and still holds that distinction to this day.  In 1990 the U.S. Air Force withdrew the SR 71 from operational duties.  
In 1995 the USAF brought 2 SR-71's back to service (somebody made in 1990 the wrong decision) and believe it or not: Finaly the new SR71 squadron was operational  and one week later Bill Clinton killed the program.
This photo of SR 71-A Blackbird serial no. N 832-NA (NASA, USAF serial no. 64-17971) was taken at Edwards Air Force base in California. Three are loaned to NASA by the U.S. Air Force. The NASA SR 71s performs high-speed and high-altitude tests to design future aircraft. The Lockheed  SR 71-A Blackbird is an American made two-seat reconnaissance aircraft.
SR 71-A Blackbird serial no. 64-17974 during the Mildenhall Airshow in 1985. On this photo it's demonstrating a low-speed pass with one engine at full power and the other engine shut off. The vertical stabilizers stands at their maximum  movement of 20 degrees, to correct the crooked thrust.
All SR 71's flew with the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing (SRW) based at Beale Air Force base in California, USA. Several worldwide detachments employed the Blackbird, like Mildenhall in England and Kadena in Japan.
This photo was taken at Mildenhall in 1986, during its landing after returning from the Farnborough Airshow (GB). Before the SR 71 is airborne, it's leaking fuel between the chinks of the fuel tanks (it's using JP-7 fuel, this isn't very inflammable), first the Blackbird has to heat it self a little up.
The first 30 minutes the fuselage is swelling and all chinks are closed. After that it's going to a KC 135-Q Stratotanker to fill its tanks, and the Blackbird is ready for a mission.
SR 71-A Blackbird serial no. 64-17960 during the Mildenhall Air Show in 1986. Every demonstration by the Blackbird is very impressive, but this one was incredible, and a little frightening as well. It was pulling a little to much G's (SR 71's aren't fighters and it has a limit of 3 G.) at moment the oxygen by the inlets is cut off. At that moment the engine is without oxygen but not without fuel, this is given an enormous quantity of fuel inside the engine without ignition. The pilot released the pressure on the joystick a little and one split second later fresh oxygen flowed into the engine again, so the engines could run again. But the quantity of fuel for the engine is at that moment to much and it's exploding with some enormous shooting flames. After the explosions the engines were running perfect again.
The SR 71 Blackbird has captured several world speed records. In September 1974, crews of the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing (SRW) broke the existing record of four hours, 46 minutes for a trans-Atlantic crossing between New York and London. Their time was an amazing one hour, 55 minutes. In 1976 they set a new absolute world speed record over a 25 kilometer straight course (2.193 mph, 3528 km/h) and flew the Blackbird to 85,069 feet (27983 meters) to set world absolute altitude record for horizontal flight.
Rumours are going that these records are far from the SR 71's limits. In 1990 the U.S. Air Force withdrew the SR 71 of operational duties, but most of the information is still classified at the present. Back and safe on the runway the pilot activates the chute (40-ft, 12 meters diameter) and the Blackbird slows down.
Blackbirds final destination? In storage at Palmdale in California, here they prepare many SR 71's for museums. All equipment has to be removed (still classified) before they can go to a museum.
At the present this SR 71 is flying by the NASA with registration N 844-NA (NASA, USAF serial no. 64-17971).
Blackbirds final destination, many museums around the USA. SR 71-A Blackbird serial no. 64-17959 at the Eglin Air Force base museum in Florida. During the last operational flight in 1990 one Blackbird set a new world speed record! "Old age pension"?

The Lockheed SR 71-A Blackbird is an American made two-seat reconnaissance aircraft. SR-71 BLACKBIRD PERFORMANCE: Wing span: 16,94 m. Length: 32,74 m. Height: 5,64 m. Max. speed: Mach 3.5+(3500+ km/h,2175+mph.) Empty weight: 60,000 lbs.(27216 kg.) Max. weight: 170,000 lbs.(77111 kg.) Powerplant: two Pratt & Whitney J-58 bleed turbojets Thrust : 32,500 lbs.(14742 kg.) (each)

"The OnLine Blackbird Museum", click here

 

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