• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.

SR-71 Video & Story!

formerBrat

Lab Animal
Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2007
Messages
221
Location
SoTX
#2
Very cool slideshow, great aircraft. Thanks for sharing!

Don't know if it's true, but I heard as a kid that if the Blackbird was hauling ass as it could, it would take 3 states to turn around and go back the way it came from. That was one hell of a plane. I thought I had read that NASA operated one after the USAF retired them, anyone know if that's still true?
 
A

arizonaguide

Guest
#3
Very cool slideshow, great aircraft. Thanks for sharing!

Don't know if it's true, but I heard as a kid that if the Blackbird was hauling ass as it could, it would take 3 states to turn around and go back the way it came from. That was one hell of a plane. I thought I had read that NASA operated one after the USAF retired them, anyone know if that's still true?
To my understanding, the last flying SR-71 (of the two flying aircraft that were transfered to NASA in 1990) was tail number 17980 (NASA #844).
She is on display, though not publicly accessible, at Dryden Flight Research Center, California.
Her last flight was 9 October 1999, and was the last flight of any SR-71.

Here's the photo link to where she now rests: http://www.sr-71.org/photogallery/blackbird/17980/
 

JBS

Leatherneck
Verified Military
Joined
Aug 14, 2007
Messages
2,153
Location
USA
#5
Don't know if it's true, but I heard as a kid that if the Blackbird was hauling ass as it could, it would take 3 states to turn around and go back the way it came from. That was one hell of a plane. I thought I had read that NASA operated one after the USAF retired them, anyone know if that's still true?
I heard that rumor as a kid too, but as it turns out, there may have been other reasons for the long turning radius:

The aerodynamicists discovered that the chines generated powerful vortices around themselves, generating much additional lift near the front of the aircraft, leading to surprising improvements in aerodynamic performance.[22] The angle of incidence of the delta wings could then be reduced, allowing for greater stability and less high-speed drag, and more weight (fuel) could be carried, allowing for greater range. Landing speeds were also reduced, since the chines' vortices created turbulent flow over the wings at high angles of attack, making it harder for the wings to stall. (The Blackbird can, consequently, make high-alpha turns to the point where the Blackbird's unique engine air inlets stop ingesting enough air, which can cause the engines to flame out. Blackbird pilots were thus warned not to pull more than 3 g
Because of the design of the intakes, turning sharply could cause the engines to flame out, so long, lazy turns were required.
 

formerBrat

Lab Animal
Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2007
Messages
221
Location
SoTX
#6
Interesting, thanks for that information JBS and AZ!

I read an aviation joke, that told about an SR-71 crew requesting clearance for 70,000 ft. When the ATC laughed and asked just how they planned to get up to that altitude, the SR crew replied that they weren't planning on going up to that height, but planned on coming down.
 
0

08steeda

Guest
#7
Plus we have never actually been told what the top speed of the aircraft. It was always spoken to in the terms of Mach 3 Plus back in the day it was just becoming publicly acknowledged. Since, it has been reported to go around Mach 6+.

There were also reports that it was leaked to go up to Mach 14. But this is thought to be BS. Or possibly a prototype of the BlackSwift platform (Replacement for the SR71).

How many on SS have gotten to see one fly! It is an amazing almost unreal experience!!! When they kick in the after-burners it disappears from your sight so fast that you just can not believe it!!! Then the sonic boom hits (and if your not prepared) you immediately shit your pants because it is so damn loud!!!

If I am not mistaken, on the AF retirement flight for the one that ended up at the Smithsonian, it broke the air-speed record for traversing the continent!
 
A

arizonaguide

Guest
#11
The SR-71 manual includes the top speed of Mach 3.2 for mission planning purposes (time/distance), however that doesn't mean that it would NOT do Mach 4.0, but probably at a serious tradeoff of "miles per gallon", and for a short amount of time. :cool:

So, I believe it's "functional" top speed was around Mach 3.2.
The REAL secret of the SR-71 was the sensors involved, to include the Synthetic Apperture Radar...that were serious technological advances of the time!

Synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) is a form of RADAR in which multiple radar images are processed to yield higher resolution images than would be possible by conventional means. Either a single antenna mounted on a moving platform (such as an airplane or spacecraft) is used to illuminate a target scene or many low-directivity small stationary antennas are scattered over an area near the target area. The many echo waveforms received at the different antenna positions are post-processed to resolve the target. SAR can only be implemented by moving one or more antennas over relatively immobile targets, by placing multiple stationary antennas over a relatively large area, or combinations thereof. SAR has seen wide applications in remote sensing and mapping.
Kelly Johnson was THE MAN! What a SUPER GREAT figure in history!

 

AWP

Formerly Known as Freefalling
Administrator
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
Messages
13,144
Location
Not Afghanistan
#12

JBS

Leatherneck
Verified Military
Joined
Aug 14, 2007
Messages
2,153
Location
USA
#13
The SR-71 manual includes the top speed of Mach 3.2 for mission planning purposes (time/distance), however that doesn't mean that it would NOT do Mach 4.0, but probably at a serious tradeoff of "miles per gallon", and for a short amount of time. :cool:

So, I believe it's "functional" top speed was around Mach 3.2.
The REAL secret of the SR-71 was the sensors involved, to include the Synthetic Apperture Radar...that were serious technological advances of the time!



Kelly Johnson was THE MAN! What a SUPER GREAT figure in history!

There was also that very interesting DRONE on the back of the SR-71...
Two of the A-12's were modified to carry the D-21 ramjet reconnaissance drone on top of the aft fuselage. The 42 foot titanium D-21 drown was powered by a Marquardt RJ43-MA-11 ramjet and was to be launched from the A-12 at Mach 3. Aircraft 940 and 941 were modified to carry the D-21 drone and included a rear cockpit for a second crew member. Once modified to carry the drone, the A-12 aircraft were called the M-12. The back seat crew member (called the Launch Control Officer) was in charge of safely launching the drone from the M-12. Once launched, the Mach 3.35 drone followed a preplanned flight profile with camera ON/OFF points also controlled by the navigation system. The 11,000 pound D-21 drone had a range of around 3,000 nm and could fly as high as 95,000 feet. Following its mission, the drone flew to a point over friendly territory, and its palletized camera unit was ejected and recovered by a modified C-130 aircraft, equipped with a Midair Recovery System (MARS), where it would be taken for processing. As the D-21 continued its descent, it would soon self-destruct by a barometrically activated explosive device.



 

SAWMAN

SEAL
Verified SOF
Joined
Jun 17, 2009
Messages
202
#14
Not to stray too far off subject, but for those Warriors who enjoy military aviation literature, I also really enjoyed Chuck Yeager's book and Erich Hartmann's book.

Both men lead fascinating lives.

Just as an example: Hartmann had 352 aerial victories and Yeager once got in a dogfight with a case of Champagne in his lap!
 

AWP

Formerly Known as Freefalling
Administrator
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
Messages
13,144
Location
Not Afghanistan
#15
The A-12 led to at least one fatality that I can recall.

Yeager's book is great, BTW. Too bad he turned into a douchebag later in life.

Gerald Astor wrote a book on the Eighth Air Force that was great. Their losses were horrendous. Men of steel.
 

AWP

Formerly Known as Freefalling
Administrator
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
Messages
13,144
Location
Not Afghanistan
#17
What happened? Care to elaborate?
I've seen posts/ reports on various airshow boards where he was a bit of an arrogant prick. One or two I can ignore, but I've seen more than that. Where's there is smoke....

I'll try to dig one or two up.
 

JBS

Leatherneck
Verified Military
Joined
Aug 14, 2007
Messages
2,153
Location
USA
#18
I've seen posts/ reports on various airshow boards where he was a bit of an arrogant prick. One or two I can ignore, but I've seen more than that. Where's there is smoke....

I'll try to dig one or two up.
Well that's a shame. I'd always seen him as a hero.
 
A

arizonaguide

Guest
#19
After further research I have found that Mach 3.2 was pretty much the Maximum "Design" Mach Number, with normal "cruise" operation at Mach 3.17.
Speeds as high as 3.3 were allowed as long as Compressor Inlet temperature restrictions were closely watched. (NTE: 427deg C)

Maximum Altitude Restriction was 85,000ft in Normal Operation, according to the manual...yet I seem to recall reading about a flight that reached 100,000 feet at one time.
 

JBS

Leatherneck
Verified Military
Joined
Aug 14, 2007
Messages
2,153
Location
USA
#20
After further research I have found that Mach 3.2 was pretty much the Maximum "Design" Mach Number, with normal "cruise" operation at Mach 3.17.
Speeds as high as 3.3 were allowed as long as Compressor Inlet temperature restrictions were closely watched. (NTE: 427deg C)

Maximum Altitude Restriction was 85,000ft in Normal Operation, according to the manual...yet I seem to recall reading about a flight that reached 100,000 feet at one time.
The key to guessing about the SR-71's capabilities is that these were operating "norms".

When fired upon, the norms went out the window; SOP for evading an incoming rocket / missile was to put the pedal to the metal, max throttle, max altitude. From what I read, it routinely went over 90,000 feet+ when fired upon, and broke mach 3.5 with relative ease, for short stints.