For nearly 30 years of service our heroic aircrews operated the Blackbirds in the most extreme aeronautical environments ever known to man. 

Unarmed and unafraid flying near hostile territories. Evading thousands of weapons launched against them with only her speed and electronic counter measures to defend.

Dedicated warriors providing critical information from the high ground to preserve the peace for all mankind.


 

History


SR-71 Blackbird

Each of the  SR-71 engines produce the power of  45 locomotives.

 

 

A brief history of the SR-71 Blackbird

Photo showing the "Father" of the SR-71, top secret Code Name, the A-12 (Archangel-12), the 12th and final design concept that was approved for the CIA contract of a high speed, high altitude reconnaissonnce aircraft. Seen here, unpainted bare Titanium, a miracle of aviation. She was later Christened by her crews with the name "CYGNUS".

Photo showing the "Father" of the SR-71, top secret Code Name, the A-12 (Archangel-12), the 12th and final design concept that was approved for the CIA contract of a high speed, high altitude reconnaissonnce aircraft. Seen here, unpainted bare Titanium, a miracle of aviation.

She was later Christened by her crews with the name "CYGNUS".

A-12 Crew Cygnus Patch  

A-12 Crew Cygnus Patch  

The Lockheed SR-71 was an advanced, long-range, Mach 3 strategic reconnaissance aircraft developed from the Lockheed YF-12A and A-12 aircraft by the Lockheed Skunk Works. The A-12 was developed and tested during the early 60's under the Top Secret "OXCART" program at AREA 51.

The SR-71 was unofficially named the Blackbird, and called the HABU ("snake") by its crews. Clarence "Kelly" Johnson was responsible for many of the design's advanced concepts. A last resort defensive feature of the aircraft was its high speed and operating altitude; whereby if a surface-to-air missile launch was 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.

 Interceptor Variant Patch

 Interceptor Variant Patch

Videos

"The SR-71 Blackbird"

HABU

1971 MACKAY TROPHY WINNER
"Most meritorious flight of the year"

April 26, 1971

SR-71A, 61-7968 was flown 15,000 miles non-stop in 10-1/2 hours.

1972 HARMON INTERNATIONAL TROPHY
"Most outstanding international achievement in the art / science of aeronautics"

On Sept. 1, 1974, SR-71A, 61-7972 flew from New York to London in
1 hour, 54 minutes, 56 seconds, smashing the previous trans-Atlantic speed record by nearly three hours! 
Returning to the U.S. on Sept. 13, 1974, #972 established a world speed record of
3 hours, 47 minutes, 36 seconds for the 5,463 mile (8,790 km) flight from London to Los Angeles.
 
It outraced the sun, landing some four hours before the time of day it took off.

July 27 / 28 1976
3 SR-71's flown by 3 different crews set 7 world speed and altitude records.

100KM Closed Course at 2092 MPH / Altitude Record of 85,068.997 FT / 15 & 25 Straight Course at 2193 MPH

July 28 1976

SR-71A #617958 set an all time speed record of 2193 MPH 

Crewed by Pilot Capt. Eldon Joersz and RSO Maj. George T. Morgan.

6 March 1990

SR-71A, 61-7972 set 4 speed records on its last flight to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
US Coast to Coast (2086 Nmi); 67 minutes 54 seconds at 2124.5 MPH.
Los Angeles to Washington DC (1998 Nmi); 64 minutes 54 seconds at 2144.8 MPH.
Kansas City to Washington DC (942.08 Nmi); 25 minutes 58.53 seconds at 2176 MPH.
St. Louis to Cincinnati (311.44 Nmi); 8 minutes 31.97 seconds at 2189.94 MPH

This is the mighty Blackbird's exhaust nozzle

This is the mighty Blackbird's exhaust nozzle

The muzzle velocity of a high powered, 30-06 rifle bullet is 2910 feet per second.
The Blackbird can fly at 3226 feet per second.
Of course that bullet starts to slow down as soon as it leaves the rifle barrel.
The Blackbird continues to fly at MACH 3+ and then accelerates faster.
How is it possible to fly faster and get better fuel mileage?
Learn about the "Remarkable SR-71"


Clarence “Kelly” Johnson quotes about the SR-71 Titanium and problems during it’s development.


”The tough titanium actually is a very sensitive material to handle.”

”Titanium is such a ridged material that it cannot be shoved into place - as can some other metals and therefore cut to less-exact tolerances.”

”It must be tooled to fit. “This exact tooling is very expensive-“

”Special tools were required, a drill would be totally destroyed after about 17 rivet holes.”

”We were paying $119 per foot for titanium extrusions, and it was costing us $19 per inch to machine them”.
(That’s early 1960’s dollars)

Kelly Johnson’s narration of the Blackbird titanium parts fabrication process.

”Hot sizing process at ADP is used to form close tolerance parts from titanium sheet metal.

A furnace is used to preheat steel dies to 1400 degrees F.

The hot die is then move to a hot sizing press where they are then kept hot by electric heaters.

The hydraulically operated hot sizing press applies pressure to the titanium parts holding them at a constant temperature and pressure for a processing period of 15 minutes.

The parts are then removed from the dies and allowed to cool.

Parts are then pickled and cleaned and then readied for assembly.

Spot welding machines with close current controls are use to assemble many of the Blackbird airframe components.

This equipment is of special design and suitable only for a sophisticated titanium alloy.”

The secret code name used by the Lockheed Skunk Works for this material was “Unobtainium”.