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.


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?! 🦅🤔"

Israel in the USA

Relatable. First of its kind. Should be interesting.

Watch live as SpaceIL makes history by landing Beresheet on the Moon! Today, Israel becomes the 4th country to ever land a craft on the Moon's surface.


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!!

Freedom Museum

You know you want to!

Check out the cockpit on the SR-71 Blackbird....

The next generation of the SR-71 Blackbird is twice as fast

Via: We Are The Mighty The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird was retired suddenly in 1990, but the replacement was shrouded in mystery — now, a 'Son of Blackbird' is under development.

Boeing Unveils Conceptual Hypersonic Jet Design To Replace The SR-71 Blackbird Boeing recently unveiled a conceptual model for a new hypersonic jet that would replace the SR-71 Blackbird

NASA just dropped a ton of rare footage of SR-71 Blackbirds doing what they do best Of all the aircraft ever conceived by the US Air Force, the Blackbird is most synonymous with speed.

You MUST Read This Test Pilot's Story of an SR-71 Blackbird Disintegrating Midair [VIDEO]

Amazing fortitude to do it all over again. "I didn't think the chances of surviving an ejection at Mach 3.18 and 78,800 ft. were very good". That's a hell of a quote from one of the original SR-71 test pilots, Bill Weaver following an "incident" on January 26, 1966.There were many harrowing mishaps during the early testing the legendary

Astronaut John Young, Who Flew In Space 6 Times, Dies At 87

Tragedy One of NASA's most accomplished astronauts died Friday. He flew in space six times, including a moon landing, and later headed the office that chose crews for space shuttle missions.

Meet the man who flew the SR-71 Blackbird—the world’s fastest jet

Read and drool!

It wasn't always 'LA Speed Check' for Major Brian Shul.

One of our own got to sit down with the man (and managed to not drop their jaw in awe - I can imagine goosebumps at Mach 3.2! 😉) to get us this piece of... er... um... ah... SPEED! Pilot Brian Shul discusses his unique trajectory—in life and in flight—ahead of his Hiller Museum event

PRE-ORDER - Limited Edition SR-71 Blackbird SetSigned by Six Pilots

Received from a follower. If anyone's interested. PRE ORDER LISTING FOR DELIVERY BEFORE CHRISTMAS Limited Edition SR-71 Blackbird Coin set. Limited to only 71 sets worldwide, this is your chance to own a stunning collectible coin set that includes the signatures of six SR-71 Blackbird pilots! Taking centre stage is a 2.5" coin featuring the famous�...

SR-71 Blackbird Pilot Trolls Arrogant Fighter Pilot with Ground Speed Check.

Never gets old!!! This may be the single greatest aviation story ever told, it's about the iconic SR-71 Blackbird whose full operating specs are still classified to this day. The story, from the now out-of-print book Sled Driver by former SR-71 jockey Brian Shul (available used on Amazon for just $700). Here’s the ...

This SR-71 Blackbird Cockpit Tour Is The Most Fascinating Thing You'll See All Week

Insert: heavy breathing cat meme! Veteran SR-71 pilot gives a highly detailed tour of both cockpits and shares incredible recollections from his time flying the legendary jet.

Five Countries Who Fired Missiles At SR 71 Blackbird

Just because.

Doctrine Man

“The thing was fast as a whip and built like a butterfly,” says [Frank] Murray. “And with that huge wing, the easiest plane I’ve ever landed. The brakes weren’t worth a sh*t, but we had a 40-foot drag chute, so that helped.”

Instagram post by Tactical Gunners • Sep 10, 2017 at 3:07am UTC

Like it's 🔥🔥🔥 4,300 Likes, 20 Comments - Tactical Gunners (@tacticalgunners) on Instagram: “. ✅ Double tap the pic ✅ Tag your friends ✅ Check link in my bio for badass stuff - #usarmy…”

We Are The Mighty

Here comes the (possible) successor. Decades after I hung my boots!

Meet the SR-72.

Business Insider

The jet could outfly any missile fired at it.

Five Countries Who Fired Missiles At SR 71 Blackbird

And failed.

AviationDirect Easyplan


The LA Speed Story. Thanks for this brilliant video clip Karl Jensen !

We Are The Mighty

Ever wonder what it's like to eject from an SR-71 at supersonic speed?

Rolling Thunder rumbles through D.C. for 30th time

Yours truly was grateful to have been a part of it this year. Rolling Thunder rumbles through D.C. for 30th time

5 countries that tried to shoot down the SR-71 Blackbird (and failed)

The SR-71 wasn't just fast; it found a way to use the enemies' radar for themselves.

h/t We Are The Mighty The SR-71 could fly fast and high, making it nearly invulnerable to anti-air defenses. But that didn’t stop some adversaries from trying to shoot one down.

Roger Hanson: The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird - still one of the world's fastest aircraft

Was there ever any doubt? Inside the life and times of the 'Blackbird'.

America, Hell Yeah

Still one of the best aviation stories in history and a great re-read.

Alabama pilot remembers flying the 'faster than a bullet' SR-71 Blackbird

What I'd give to experience the same!!! Ed Yeilding of Florence, Ala., was the last pilot of the SR-71 Blackbird jet and still holds the coast-to-coast air speed record

Keeping the SR-71 Blackbird (the World's First Stealth Plane) Secret Was Near Impossible

Read and marvel! This is why.

25 Mind Boggling Facts About the SR-71. #12 Made Me Wince. [VIDEO] The SR-71 Blackbird is a total badass. It was the nation's preeminent spy plane for more than 30 years and served as the gatekeeper between the era of spy plans and spy satellites. But what really mattered was that the thing flat out hauls serious butt. When you make the fastest plane

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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.

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