The SR-71 Black bird


The Lockheed SR-71 is an advanced, long-range, Mach 3 strategic reconnaissance aircraft developed from the Lockheed A-12 and YF-12A aircraft by the Lockheed Skunk Works as a Black project. The SR-71 was unofficially named the Blackbird, and called the Habu by its crews, referring to an Okinawan species of pit viper. Clarence "Kelly" Johnson was responsible for many of the design's innovative concepts. A defensive feature of the aircraft was its high speed and operating altitude, whereby, if a surface-to-air missile launch were detected, standard evasive action was simply to accelerate. The SR-71 line was in service from 1964 to 1998, with 12 of the 32 aircraft being destroyed in accidents, though none were lost to enemy action.

The Black Bird "grows" over 8 inches in flight and the nose glows cherry red at high altitude cruise (90-100,000'). It will cover 180 miles if it has to turn around. I was in Washington when the Bird made
>>it's last official flight. It took off from California, flew over the Pacific, refueled, turned east bound and when it crossed the west coast of California, the stop watches started. 68 Minutes later, the Bird crossed the east coast of the United States near Washington, D C!  That record along with many others still stands from an aircraft that people started designing in the late 1950's! Talk about being ahead of  it's time.

View a Slide Show produced by one of the 93 people to ever pilot the Blackbird. He shares some formerly classified info. This came from a link from the Lockheed Martin retiree group.

Another web page:

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