Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird
I'd Rather Be Flying From Hangar 18
in the...
Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird
(Featuring some of the Ol'Kunnel's favorite airplanes!)

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    The Lockheed SR-71 "Blackbird" is a long-range, Mach 3+ strategic reconnaissance aircraft that was operated by the United States Air Force. It was developed as a black project from the Lockheed A-12 reconnaissance aircraft in the 1960s by Lockheed and its Skunk Works division. American aerospace engineer Clarence "Kelly" Johnson was responsible for many of the design's innovative concepts. During aerial reconnaissance missions, the SR-71 operated at high speeds and See Thumbnail List Descriptionitudes to allow it to outrace threats. If a surface-to-air missile launch was detected, the standard evasive action was simply to accelerate and outfly the missile. The SR-71 was designed to have basic steSee Thumbnail List Descriptionh characteristics and served as a precursor to future steSee Thumbnail List Descriptionh aircraft.
    The SR-71 served with the U.S. Air Force from 1964 to 1998. A total of 32 aircraft were built; 12 were lost in accidents and none lost to enemy action. The SR-71 has been given several nicknames, including Blackbird and Habu. It has held the world record for the fastest air-breathing manned aircraft since 1976; this record was previously held by the related Lockheed YF-12.

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Interesting Facts Designed by dream team of Kelly Johnson and Ben Rich

  • code-named “Senior Crown”
  • grew several inches in flight due to thermal expansion of airfram
  • designed with stealth in mind but had large radar signature
  • required crew to use pressure suits
  • burned 40,000 pounds of fuel every two hours
  • evaded surface-to-air missiles merely by accelerating
  • used titanium acquired from the Soviet Union
  • nicknamed “Habu,” pit viper found on Okinawa
  • shut down for good Oct. 9, 1999
  • renamed SR-71 [from RS-71] by USAF Chief of Staff Gen. Curtis LeMa.
-- AIR FORCE Magazine/Mayh 2012

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