SR-71 Blackbird

Here lives the "Bat out of Hell!"

Mission: Records: The SR-71 remained the world's fastest and highest-flying operational manned aircraft throughout its career. From an altitude of 80,000 ft (24 km), it could survey 100,000 square miles per hour (72 square kilometers per second) of the Earth's surface. In addition, it was accurate enough to take a picture of a car's license plate from this altitude. On 28 July 1976, an SR-71 broke the world record for its class: an absolute speed record of 1905.80993 knots (2,193.1669 mph, 3,529.56 km/h), and an "absolute altitude record" of 85,068.997 feet (25,929 m). Several airplanes exceeded this altitude in zoom climbs but not in sustained flight. When the SR-71 was retired in 1990, one was flown from its birthplace at United States Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California to go on exhibit at what is now the Smithsonian Institution's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (an annex of the National Air & Space Museum) in Chantilly, Virginia. The Blackbird, piloted by Colonel Ed Yielding and Lt. Col. J.T. Vida, set a coast-to-coast speed record at an average 2,124 mph (3,418 km/h). The entire trip was reported as 68 minutes and 17 seconds. Three additional records were set within segments of the flight, including a new absolute top speed of 2,242 mph measured between the radar gates set up in St. Louis and Cincinnati. These were accepted by the National Aeronautic Association (NAA), the recognized body for aviation records in the United States. An enthusiast site devoted to the Blackbird lists a record time of 64 minutes. The SR-71 also holds the record for flying from New York to London in 1 hour 54 minutes and 56.4 seconds, set on 1 September 1974. This equates to an average velocity of about Mach 2.68, including slowing down for in-flight refueling. Peak speeds during this flight were probably closer to the declassified top speed of Mach 3.2+. (For comparison, commercial Concorde flights took around 3 hours 23 minutes, and the Boeing 747 averages 6 hours 15 minutes.) Any discussion of the SR-71's records and performance is limited to declassified information. Actual performance figures will remain the subject of speculation until additional information is released.

Operating as usual

The A-12 Archangel: Faster, Lighter, Higher than the SR-71

I don't often get to do an ode to my older brother, but thanks to Simon Whistler - Good informational!

Also what Elon Musk's kid is named after... Simon's Social Media: Twitter: Instagram:

Well then! 😎🤣

You'll still be a champion at just 6 ft social distancing from each other. Limiting face-to-face contact with others outside your household is the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Social distancing, also called “physical distancing,” means keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home.

For the latest information and guidance on COVID-19, visit

(U.S. Air Force graphic by David Perry)

[05/22/20]   Thanks Mom!! 😎😏

The Insane Engineering of the SR-71 Blackbird

Kelly Johnson would be proud!!

Get a year of both Nebula and Curiosity Stream for just 11.99 here: and using the code, "realengineering" New ...

Top Gear

The nearest thing to the closest thing, yet!!

Doing 1,000mph isn’t easy. But that’s exactly what the Bloodhound project wants to do. In order to do so you need a few things; a rather special car, a Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet – and a rocket. Oh, and a rather brave person to sit behind the wheel.

So strap your brain in as Top Gear magazine’s Ollie Marriage speaks to Andy Green about what it’s like to do 628mph, and how this car wants to hit 1,000. Be warned: there’s talk of yaw, static roll margins and what it’s like to drift a supersonic car.

Constantly flying at, or above 80,000+ ft above sea level, the SR-71 Blackbird eluded us its common greatness when it achieved this without much effort! 😎😏

Just your every day pic of a fighter jet breaking the sound barrier. This is what 767 mph looks like in perfect conditions.

On this day in 1990 an SR-71 Blackbird Flew From LA to Washington DC In 1 hour, 4 minutes and 20 seconds

Those were the days! 30 years ago today, a Blackbird smashed a transcontinental speed record. On Mar. 6, 1990, SR-71 Blackbird S/N 61-7972 (tail number #972) made its final flight from AF Flight Test Center Plant 42 in…

MACH III (SR71 Vs. Saab JA 37 Short Film)

Kudos to budding filmmakers Andy and Dan for this project. Commendable effort!

Dan & Andy chronicle their journey making an action-packed aviation film about Swedish combat jets challenging the uncatchable American SR-71 Blackbird. Than...

The SR-71 Blackbird

Thanks Doc! 😎

(Via Doctrine Man) December 22nd, 1964, The first flight of Lockheed's Skunk Works, and the brain child of Kelly Johnson, super secret Strategic Reconnaissance SR-71, was designed with a minimal radar cross section, loaded with electronic countermeasures, and a deep blue/black paint to increase its internal heat emiss...

The Untouchable US Military Spy Plane That Drove the USSR Crazy

Good assessment.

The US Military crafted a spy plane so sophisticated it could spy on Russian bases and never be shot down. The SR 71 was the perfect feat of aeronautical eng...

I'll allow it.

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's… no, it's a plane. #mondaymadness

America's secret supersonic spy drones flew over China in the 1960s After a CIA pilot named Francis Gary Powers was shot down in a U-2 Spy Plane over the Soviet Union, the US tried something different.


Talk about a photo bomber. A U.S. Air Force B-2 stealth bomber based out of Missouri flies 60 feet above a group of plane spotters after a training mission in Europe.


On this day 60 years ago, the OXCART project began. In 2007, this A12-- one of only nine remaining-- was transferred to Langley by the Air Force. Today, it is a symbol of successful collaboration between the Intelligence Community, the Defense Department, and private industry.

The Plane that Dreams are Made Of: The SR-71 Blackbird

The SR-71 Blackbird is one of the most advanced aircraft ever built. And it was built over fifty years ago. The Blackbird Family:

Fall from an SR-71

Good clip!

In 1966, an SR-71 "Blackbird" disintegrated at 78,000 feet. The pilot's first thought was "No one could live through what just happened. Therefore, I must be...


CIA #Museum Artifact of the Week: Untouchable

Under the highly secret Project OXCART, CIA developed the A‑12 as the U-2’s successor, intended to meet our nation’s need for a very fast, very high-flying reconnaissance aircraft that could avoid Soviet air defenses.

CIA awarded the OXCART contract to Lockheed (builder of the U-2) in 1959. In meeting the A‑12’s extreme speed and altitude requirements, Lockheed—led by legendary engineer Clarence “Kelly” Johnson—overcame numerous technical challenges with cutting-edge innovations in titanium fabrication, lubricants, jet engines, fuel, navigation, flight control, electronic countermeasures, radar stealthiness, and pilot life-support systems. In 1965, after hundreds of hours flown at high personal risk by an elite team of CIA and Lockheed pilots, the A‑12 was declared fully operational. It subsequently attained a sustained speed of Mach 3.29 (just over 2,200 miles per hour) at 90,000 feet altitude—to this day, an unbroken record for piloted jet aircraft.

CIA’s operational use of the A-12 faced not only many technical challenges but also political sensitivity to aircraft flights over denied areas and competition from imaging satellites. After the U-2 piloted by Francis Gary Powers was shot down over the Soviet Union in May 1960, all overflights of the USSR were halted, thus blocking the A‑12’s original mission to monitor the Soviet Bloc. By the time of CIA’s first A-12 deployment in 1967, CORONA satellites were being launched regularly to collect thousands of images worldwide each year. Although its imagery was less timely and of poorer resolution than the A-12’s, CORONA was invulnerable to anti-aircraft missiles and much less provocative than A-12 overflights. At the same time, the US Air Force was developing the SR‑71, a modified version of the A-12. Seeing little value in maintaining both overt SR-71 and covert A-12 fleets with similar capabilities, President Johnson ordered retirement of the A‑12 by 1968.

The only A-12 reconnaissance operation, codenamed BLACK SHIELD, took place from May 1967 to May 1968. A detachment of six pilots and three A-12s based at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa flew 29 missions over East Asia. The panoramic stereo camera aboard each aircraft yielded considerable high-quality imagery that within hours of landing was processed and under the eagle eyes of photointerpreters, who provided valuable intelligence in support of US military operations during the Vietnam War. Also, A-12 imagery of North Korea enabled them to locate the intelligence ship USS Pueblo illegally seized by North Korea and to confirm no further hostilities were imminent.

To commemorate this pioneering and unsurpassed aeronautical achievement, the painting depicts the first BLACK SHEILD reconnaissance flight on 31 May 1967 over North Vietnam. Piloted by Mele Vojvodich, Article 131 took off in a torrential downpour just before 1100 local Okinawa time. The A-12 had never operated in heavy rain before, but weather over the target area was forecast as satisfactory, so the flight went ahead. Vojvodich flew the planned route at 80,000 feet and Mach 3.1, refueled immediately after taking off and during each of two loops over Thailand, and safely touched down at Kadena with a total flight time of three hours and 39 minutes. The intelligence mission was a resounding success: after detailed examination of nearly a mile of film that was collected, photointerpreters found no surface-to-surface missiles that might threaten US and allied military forces in the South and assessed the status of 70 of the 190 known surface-to-air missile sites and nine other priority targets. Contrary to some published accounts, Chinese or North Vietnamese radar did not track the aircraft, nor did North Vietnam fire any missiles at it. The A-12 had proven itself a valuable imagery collector, untouchable by hostile air defenses far below.

Interestingly, high-altitude testing of our reconnaissance aircraft like the U-2 and A-12 had an unexpected side effect — a tremendous increase in reports of unidentified flying objects (UFOs).

Strange things in the skies in the ‘50s & ‘60s? That was us. #WorldUFODay


"But, Officer! I thought this was America?! 🦅🤔"

We Are The Mighty

Neil Armstrong himself was among the test pilots.

Daniel Alarik

I'd add a highly disciplined infantry unit to this list.

First air-to-air images of supersonic shockwave in flight captured

"There's talk on the street, it sounds so familiar..."

"We never dreamt that it would be this clear, this beautiful."

Via: We Are The Mighty NASA has tested an advanced air-to-air photographic technology in flight, capturing the interaction of shockwaves from two supersonic aircraft in flight.


These images are of T-38 USAF Test Pilot School aircraft flying faster than the speed of sound (767 mph). No they are not photoshopped. Using new NASA air to air schlieren photographic technology which shoots 1,400 frames per second, people are able to see how the airplanes create waves when air molecules begin to compress because they are flying faster than the speed of sound. These images were taken about 2,000 feet above the aircraft.

Declassified 1960s Photos Reveal How the SR-71 Blackbird Was Built - Aviation Humor


Why Was This Plane Invulnerable: The SR-71 Blackbird Story

Lot of informational videos of this kind on YouTube lately. This was well made.

The Cold War locked the United States and Soviet Union into a tense struggle for global influence and control. The first purpose-built American spy plane to ...

Grunt Style

It's always nice to be remembered!!

1900 knots!

"Air Power, Ground Power" - By page fan Jennifer Egista Artistry

Drawing realized with Watercolors Maimeri and Colored Pencils Faber-Castell Polychromos and Prismacolor Premier on Fabriano Tiepolo paper.
Dimensions: 20x27 inches.

That Time A Crippled SR-71 Blackbird In Emergency Was Intercepted By Four Swedish Viggens After Violating Sweden’s Airspace

A crippled bird operating on one engine, mind you. The Swedish Viggens escorted her to safety. An interesting Cold War episode worth 4 medals. During the 1980s, the U.S. flew regular SR-71 Blackbird aircraft reconnaissance missions in international waters over the Barents Sea and the Baltic …

[10/31/18]   Righting the wrongs of First Man.

"I'm still goin' upstairs like a bat out of hell!"


We Are The Mighty

Here's what we know.

We Are The Mighty

Walk on home boy!!

These pilots definitely gave air traffic controllers a reason to smile that day.

Doctrine Man

Today marks 71 years since @GenChuckYeager "rocketed past the sound barrier." Never a doubt he had the Right Stuff.

[06/12/18]   Totally forgot to post this earlier: Yours truly was at a McDonald's in DC the other night munching on apple pie and coffee with friends. The next table over, are kids wearing an SR-71 Blackbird t-shirt and discussing this very page. I couldn't help but overhear their conversation and chuckle within.

If only they'd known who was eavesdropping!!

Doctrine Man

If you have a grand just sitting around doing nothing... have I got a deal for you.

We Are The Mighty

Some things never go out of style.

Blackbird Stealth SR 71 Documentary

Best thing on YouTube? Without doubt!

Psst! Only 119 subscribers to get to that 11K count. Go destroy that 'Like' button!!

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14390 Air And Space Museum Parkway
Chantilly, VA
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SCRIPOPHILY (scrip-af-il-ly), the collecting of canceled old stocks and bonds, gained recognition as a hobby around the mid-1970s. The word resulted combining words from English and Greek.

Sully Historic Site Sully Historic Site
3650 Historic Sully Way
Chantilly, 20151

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