I had the pleasure of working in the Program from December 69 to May of '76 when I retired from the AF. My years at Beale and Kadena were the highlight of my AF Career. I never tired of watching the "bird" come and go!! I worked in the Photo Lab at Beale and the mobile unit at Kadena. Made a number of trips in the back of KC-135 to and from Okinawa. I am convinced that the people I worked with and those in the program were, without doubt, some of the finest the AF had to offer. It was a sad moment for me when I watched the l
Habu, 23.10.2012 01:42
Worked the flight line at Kadena from 1970 to 1974. Watched many SR-71s take off. On one clear cloudless day two blackbirds taxied out. First one rolled into position hit the trottle. By taxiway 2 the front was up at about 20 deg. By taxiway 3 the whole plane was at about 60 deg. I looked at my watch and within 15 seconds he was out of sight. I waited until I could no longer hear him. It was 20 minutes. I still get goose bumps.
paul scott, e-mail, 12.07.2012 22:18
Like the Valkyrie, one of the most outstanding and impressive aircraft ever built! Beautiful yet kind of predatory at the same time, a true aviation classic by Lockheed!
Hal Kiah, e-mail, 03.07.2012 16:29
I spent 12 years in the Air Force, Security Police, and my last station was Macdill AFB, Fl. While I was there, I had the opportunity to see the SR several times. I've Always been a big aircraft fan, and used to know about most of the aircraft we had in inventory at the time, and what most of their mission capabilities were. A couple times while working in dispatch, I received calls from the WCP (Wing Command Post) that there was an IFE (In Flight Emergency) on call sign yada-yada.. with the designated problem. I figured, "OK, plane in trouble", so WCP gave the time inbound as like 20 minutes, more to follow. Well after decoding everything in a few seconds, I'm on the radio calling units to respond to both ends of the runway ASAP for the aircraft with orders to follow it to one of the hangers. When it landed and pulled into the hanger, my thoughts were, "20 minutes out,... must have been over Arizona!", lol. Upon being able to look this craft over, from the perspective we were allowed, all I could think, was how awesome it must be to fly one of those birds. Hats off to Lockheed for their ingenuity and forward thinking, and for their service to our country.
DANNY GRATTAN, e-mail, 25.06.2012 03:05
was station at beale afb from 66 to 1970 made may trips across the pond as a kc135q crew chief in support of the 71s which i earned the air medal at this time
Kevin Hussey, e-mail, 21.05.2012 18:31
Stationed at Beale 1982-85, Avionic Comm tech, got to watch an SR being fueled in the air from the boom pod of kc tanker, awesome. Sat in the cockpit to preflight for missions, watched one drop in the hanger to the ground on one wing after the landing gear was not properly secured. Those guys are probably still in Levenwourth!
RD, e-mail, 04.05.2012 02:43
I was a maintenance officer at Beale and had several friends who flew the "Blackbird". I was not in the 9th SRW but was always impressed by this plane. It leaked fuel like a seive on the ground due to expansion panels in the fuselage...and the area beneath the a/c was covered with "drip pans". Once it was airborne, no more leaks but a helluva lot of speed. Photos taken from altitude were amazingly sharp. A "Blackbird" pilot friend took a photo from +/- 35,000 of the housing area and I could pick out our house without any problem. I can only imagine what recce can do today. GOD bless the military! It was an honor and privilege to serve for 31 years...rd
mike birchett, e-mail, 27.04.2012 17:30
Was in Okinawa from 83-87 at Kadena AFB, my wife (Bev) lived on Kadena, the frist time I heard the SR-71 take off threw me out of bed. The powerful noise that the SR-71 pushse out of those powerful engines are awsome, if you where there you could tell when that mighty plane was getting ready for take off. Worked at the marina and when they ran engines make sure you had your mickie-mouse earson, you can not hear a thing. I remeber when the rubber duckie was on and SR-71 squdroon was in the race the Black Bird may a fly by , how cool was that, what a plane.
C. Stanley, e-mail, 20.03.2012 17:23
I worked in ground radar during the Vietnam war. I had the opportunity to handle this aircraft in Okinawa and in Vietnam. At the time the SR-71 was a restricted aircraft, meaning it was housed in the hangars before and after every flight.....no cameras. Even though they were deployed to Okinawa, you couldn't just walk up to one and check it out. For missions, they came out of the hangar hot, hit the runway and were gone. They came back the same way. The speed of over 2K mph and altitude over 80K ft.was unmatched by any other manned aircraft of the time. With a 250 mile radius on the scope, we would only "paint" them 3 times and they were gone. In Vietnam we would bring them in and track them over Laos and Thailand. They would do their job and be gone before the enemy could scramble anything from the ground. I see comments here from pilots and technicians for this aircraft. Being part of the team was an awesome experience.
robet bax, e-mail, 08.02.2012 05:12
When the Blackbird was retired to Dayton Air Museium,I was on the road south of Cinncinatti. I hurried home, got my wife and drove to Dayton to see it come in.It made several passes over the field to burn off fuel and then landed. Several days later we went to the museium and it was on display. WOW, what a bird.
Ed Wentz, e-mail, 25.08.2011 22:53
PLEASE, BEFORE MY MESSAGE GETS BURIED CAN SOME ADMINISTRATOR PLEASE REMOVE THE NASTY COMMENTS FROM JOSE! HE SHOULD BE SHOT!
Stan Smith, e-mail, 23.07.2011 05:21
Found answers I was seeking on some very good Web sites -- Air & Space Museum magazine and declassified SR-71 Operations Manual.
Stan Smith, e-mail, 22.07.2011 20:07
I'm curious about fuel as heat sink on the Blackbird. Without divulging classified information, can anyone answer questions? (I have only enough understanding to be stupid!) Does the fuel have to be in contact w/ the outer surface to achieve the heat sink? If so, what displaces the burned fuel? How much, if any, additional fuel has to be kept on board to provide this function? Or, at some point, is the heat dealt w/ by some other method than the fuel heat sink so that, by some point in the deceleration to land, only the normal fuel reserves are sufficient for heat sink purposes? (I have seen statements that fuel was "part of" the heat sink "system.")
Scott Boyd, e-mail, 02.07.2011 07:16
Back in the early 70's, will flying in a search in Colorado, I got to see the ATC tape that showed the path of a missing aircraft. It would be a dot every few inches, also there were two dots at each end of the read-out. I was told that was an SR-71.
Doug Familia, e-mail, 01.07.2011 22:33
In 1983 at the age of 15 I spent a summer in Okinawa visiting my sister and brother in law who were stationed at Kadena AFB. I was playing golf on the base golf course when a BB took off and flew right over our heads. It was amazing!! The plane appeared to be going fairly slow, all of a sudden it angled upward, engaged its afterburners, and took off like a saturn rocket, climbing like mad and amazingly loud! It was gone from sight in no time. I'm so glad I got to see that plane take off - it's one of my best memories from what was an amazing summer.
Dave Hall, e-mail, 03.05.2011 02:25
Wish I could share my memories of the early days of the Blackbird. (I crossed my heart and was told I would die if I did.) The first aircraft I worked on (ship 2) is now sitting on the deck of Intrepid in NYC, along with a Buick start cart. I finished my years at LCC running production flight test at Palmdale and arranging deliveries to Beale. I knew all the Lockheed pilots and many of the early AF pilots from Beale. Such a fun and exciting life for a young ex-Navy pilot/engineer. I was scheduled for a suit and back seat assignment in the test SR-71 but a new baby derailed my career track. Never got to fly in it, but sat in it occasionally and chased them down the runway in a truck.
A Miller, e-mail, 16.04.2011 23:45
Need to correct my base it was Mountain Home AFB ID where the BB made its emergency landing. Sry went to Bergstrom AFB the Homestead AFB after that been a few years since then LOL
A Miller, e-mail, 16.04.2011 23:08
I remember when an SR-71 had engine trouble over SE Asia and had to call for an emergency landing in the 70's. I was on the flight line at Homestead AFB Id when they shut down the base closed all roads to and from for 70 miles in all directions. It took him a very short time to arrive and land. Of course it took a few hours for the repair crews from CA to get there.LOL We had to sign our lives and that of the next 15 generations away if we ever mentioned it. Slept on the flight line for the next three days with my three sons in the car even though we lived on base no movement was allowed. That has to be the greatest memory of our family outings in 22 yrs with the AF. Recently was in Kansas and visited there museum nearly died when I walked in the door and one was hanging from the ceiling in the lobby had the pilots seat and suit displayed underneath and could see down in the cockpit from the balcony. Plan on going back this fall and take my good camera. Even though I live next door to the runway for the B-1's in Tx and have been around the stealth fighters and bombers I still love the BB. Often wonder when they will be flying again as they are still able to just not needed for visual aids as much any more.
Gail Kleen, e-mail, 08.04.2011 07:20
I had the good fortune of being assigned to the 9th srw at Beale AFB 1972-73 and was a tech on one of the sensor systems. I still can hardly believe the capabilties of this plane and its systems. Being part of this program still makes me proud thirty some odd years later and is an experience I will never forget.
Jose's Jose's Jose's Dad, 31.03.2011 17:55
errtahao gimme mones bitchs!!! suck my dick
Jose's Jose's Dad, 31.03.2011 17:54
shutup sons ima shoot you
Jose's Dad, 31.03.2011 17:50
JOSE STOP TYPING STUFF LIKE THAT RIGHT NOW. GIMME YOUR COMPUTER AND LAPTOP NOW
Jose, 23.03.2011 16:55
Son, This is awsome esse this is awsome its magical im from mexico...
Bob Huff, e-mail, 11.02.2011 06:53
I was selected by SAC to go to Edwards AFB in 1964 to be in the Test Force for the YF-12A and the SR-71. We only had 3 YF-12A's and no SR-71's for awhile. They came later. We successfully completed all phases of testing and the SR-71 was accepted into the U.S.A.F inventory. Unfortunately the YF-12A was not so lucky and was not accepted. Never been in a better group than the Test Force at Edwards. Much blood sweat and tears went into this test project by the personnel of SAC,ADC,and AFSC Commands. We were all working of a air breathing dragon that flew in environment no other aircraft have. Subjecting materials,fluids and sealants to temperatures never before applied. Never seen a more beautiful master of the skies as the SR-71. I was honored to be a small part of it.
Ron Cade--PI, e-mail, 03.02.2011 00:34
Kelley Johnson is The Man of The Twentieth Century. Great machine and I'm not allowed to qualify the photograhy here. If a picture is worth a thousand words this machine wrote a series like none other. Cheers!
Bob Myers, e-mail, 29.01.2011 22:00
I was a computer programmer working for Hughes Aircraft on the YF-12. The pilots would get in the plane and turn on the electronics. Then they waited 30 minutes for the inertial platform to align itself to true North. Then they could start engines. My program let them turn on the electronics and then start engines. During the take-off roll, before the plane rotated, the pilots had to keep the plane on a line down the center of the runway. My program computed the heading the inertial platfom thought the plane was on and compared it to the real runway heading. The program then rotated the platform to correct the heading error. The program was run a few times and appearesd to work, but wasn't flown enough to say for sure. The YF-12 project was always losing funding and to store the plane until funding was restored, they would put jacks under the wings. The tires, I think they were 80 ply steel-belted radials, would develop flat spots if the plane sat for any length of time. The only computer I could use to check out my software was at Edwards AFB. Hughes people would fly up from the private landing strip at the Hughes facility in Culver City to Edwards in the morning and return home in the afternoon. About an hour flight. One day as were climbing out to go home, we passed the YF-12 in the air and it looked sinister.
Bill Campbell, e-mail, 21.01.2011 05:50
The data shown in the specifications area is largely incorrect. The empty operating weight was approximately 60,000lbs. Loaded with 80,000 of JP-7, the maximum weight was 140,000lbs. The max speed and the speed for maximum range were identical...Mach 3.2 which translates on a standard day at -55 deg C. to be approximately 2200mph.
The ceiling was 85,000 feet only due to the minimum control speed during an inlet unstart was 310 knots equivalant airspeed (that occured @ M3.2 7 85,000')
The Blackbird is the only aircraft I have flown and know of where its maximum range can only be obtained by cruising it at its maximum speed. From on tanker to another, that range was 3000 nm if the aircraft made no supersonic turns. If it did at Mach 3.2, the increased induced drag caused by banking @ 35 degrees cut 1nm of range for every degree of heading change.
Gerry Keffer, e-mail, 07.01.2011 01:33
The SR-71 has always been my favorite airplane. I remember as a child in the 1960's of building a model that could be the YF-12A or the SR-71. It was quickly removed from the hobby stores I guess for 'National Security.' The models didn't reapper until the middle to lat '70s and early '80s.
Any time the aricraft was to flown at a military airshow in the Souther California are, March AFB, Norton AFB, George AFB or Edwards AFB I was there to watch it (I was stationed at Norton AFB from 1971-1980 and again from 1987-1991).
This is most awesome aircraft ever built and still hold the speed and altitude records. I also remember that just before they decommissioned them thatone flew from New York to LA in record time, which still stands today as well.
Jeff Comet, e-mail, 01.12.2010 00:25
I was stationed at Kadena AB, Okinawa, from 1979-1981. I was assigned to the Barrier maintenance shop, and we maintained the BAK-11F for the Blackbird.. Quite an aircraft. I always enjoyed watching the launch and recovery. Magnificent plane!
Jim Zondlo, e-mail, 21.11.2010 02:12
My most wonderful memory of the Blackbird was while I was with 554th Red Hourse @ Utaapao AB, Thailand in 1972. One of the planes came through there while the U-2 were assigned there. She took off mid afternoon to the west and circled back to make a pass over the field and made a turn stright up into the wild blue yander. What a wonderful day this was for us on that base.
Lanny R Coggin, e-mail, 05.11.2010 16:55
I was stationed at Beale AFB from Dec. 1967--May 1972 with the 9th SRW. Preflighed and maintained the Steller-inerial guidance system. Spent 3 TDY'S on Okinawa, Oct-Dec 68,Oct-Dec 70, Jun-Aug 71. This was by far the most enjoyable tour of my 22 years in the Air Forve
Al Ginbey, e-mail, 05.11.2010 14:17
My Air Force career was touched by the Blackbird in many ways. Stationed at the 9th SRW at Beale (1974-77), I was assigned to the planning branch (DOX) where we planned routes for the bird. I went TDY to Kadena and Mildenhall multiple times, met many crews, and became part of the family. I recall inadvertently walking behind the 71 at Kadena while it was at idle in the hangar...hats off to the bird! While at Marienfelde, Berlin the Blackbird touched my life again as we provided another kind of support for the team of the Habu! My final tour at SAC Offutt AFB saw the final flights of the bird. I'll always have the SR-71 on my desk.
Leroy Dufresne, e-mail, 03.11.2010 03:54
I was a Crew Chief on the SR-71 from 1979 to 1988, I traveled with acft 964, I was with it in Okinawa, went back to Beale and then two weeks later 3 Months in England. I worked Flightline, and Phase. I wrote the SR-71 Handbook along side of Mickey Alaxander. A truly remarkable acft, and I feel I can justly say that after working on many different Airframes from the SR-71 to the A-10 and KC-135. I am currently working at a FBO working with General Aviation, but when you see a picture, especially on you are in, you get this feeling of a pride many people will never experence. The Habu is the best, and I am happy I had an oppertunity to work on the best.
Lcdr John Lovett USN ret, e-mail, 30.10.2010 18:21
I was stationed at the US Naval Hospital, Okinawa in the early 80's. My son's cub scout leader was AirForce at Kadena AFB and arranged a "Dad and Son" trip to see the SR-71--the HABU. What a treat to walk around and under this plane. We were NOT allowed to climb the ladder to look into the cockpit. I was amazed at the number of "puddles" beneath the plane. We were told that all leaks ceased when the speed and altitude was reached. He also mentioned that only special alloy tools were used for maintenance. During my last week on the island, I was at the seawall taping some fighters and tankers land at Kadena and was able to tape a HABU do touch and goes.
Daniel Gunter, e-mail, 26.10.2010 03:17
I was fortunate to work on both the SR-71 and U-2R,C, C/T from 1974 until 1982, worked in the egress shop. It was and is a great system designed and built by Lockheed that has a 100% success rate, at least the time I was in. Traveled all over the world with both aircraft and was always a hoot going to airshows and other static displays. I believe there are still two operational at Edwards AFB flown by NASA and unfortunately the dyes for the aircraft were destroyed last year so no others can be made, it is a sad ending for such a great aircraft.
redhawk, e-mail, 19.10.2010 19:49
The Blackbird was born shortly after I was. I watched the progress of this awesome plane intently. I have talked to a few men that have worked on them. All of them say the same thing. "Do not believe anything you read about the Blackbird. It's much better than that." In my estimation, it's the best plane that ever has been built.
george collias, e-mail, 03.10.2010 17:09
It was my pleasure to see this plane and flight testing at Dry Groom Lake (now referred to as Area51) It was the first aircraft with what was known as the single axis platform as part of its guidance system. I will always remember the ground shaking with its after-burners on the the awesome visual effects of its night take-offs., It was a great pioneering achievement--but I believe it instuemnt system was 1958 analog. Greatest aircraft ever flown and it had the looks to match. The three aircraft I remember were designated 0934, 0935 and 0936. Those with 17xxx were subsequent air-force. The first three designations were C.I.A. . Wonderful project.
cal clack, e-mail, 02.10.2010 23:49
still, after almost half a century later, it looks like something right out of star wars. it is as mesmerizing as a great white shark.
Hugh Ickrath, e-mail, 28.09.2010 19:58
Just to snuggle into the "backseat" of the SR was an experience I will never forget. After 5 years in the U.S. Air Force and several years in the microwave research world - I went to work as a field engineer during the developement of the ECM and ELINT gear.......a life changing experience.
Don Cottons, e-mail, 21.09.2010 05:15
Although I was not associated with this aircraft, I knew this plane was worthy of my interest. The first time that I saw it fly was at the Paine Field Air Show, and what a show it put on. My unit was tasked with providing ground transportation for the pilot and support staff while in the at the show. We were aloud to witness the arrival the day before the show, and departure after the show. The day that he left he made several fly-by's, and then at the south end of the field, at about 500 ft, stood her on her tail, and went straight up until she was less than a speck. What a rush.
harrison, 20.09.2010 04:44
why was it made
Cecil (Mac), e-mail, 06.09.2010 06:52
I was a crew chief on the SR-71 for a little over 16 years. I was stationed abt Beale AFB from Sept. 1971 and retired from Beale in Sept. 1995. I spent some time at Holloman, Iceland and Korea. This was by far the best plane in the world. The pride of the people that worked the plane was matched. I went on many TDY's with the plane world over. I really hated to see the plane retired. It was a real honor to work with all the people there on the plane. Once a HABU always a HABU.
W Stokes, e-mail, 02.09.2010 07:41
I was always intrigued by the BB. While working as a tkt agt in SAN, I checked in the last CO's wife of the last operational sq out of Beale. Noticed she had a gold BB around her neck and started talking to her about the BB. She sent me an autographed poster from all of the last pilots, which I stll have. Awesome........any takers. Kelly Johnson was a genuis in a/c engineering.
mike, e-mail, 31.08.2010 10:08
I was on Okinawa, 1967. One day while in OC/FC we pick up something on the HPIR. 2000 mph and closing fast from 50000' !!! We were about to let a couple Hawks loose when we got the IFF. Releived to find out this bad boy was ours!A An FY-12a I got a chance to meet the Col. who brought her in. A couple days later, we lined up at 0530 to watch the most impressive take-off I have ever seen. I will never forget it... NEVER! She broke radar lock in less than 14 seconds. Thats one fast bitch, boys! I've heard thru the grapevine shes been in a hot run in the Med at over 5000 mph and had some room to go. And thats no sh--!
Anthony W Raduazo, e-mail, 29.08.2010 16:07
P/S...Did you know...that the USA bought most of all of its Titanium from the Soviet Union during the COLD WAR. The Soviets thought wrongly that "NO ONE" cold work this USELESS metal into anything but GLOBS of pig iron. The Soviets gave up on trying to work Titanium into a working viable metal of any value. So, thus, they thought that they would STICK IT TO THE good ole US of A, by selling us all of this crap metal that we could carry. All the time, Kelly Johnson was building a smelt made of Ceramic material that would be used to get the Titanium up to a working temperature of over 7000 degree,s. True story, We got our Titanium from the USSR to build the very plane that would fly over the USSR many times.. Thanks Russia, with friends like you, who needs Enemies? We love ya...9th Recon Beale AFB Ca,...
Anthony W Raduazo, e-mail, 29.08.2010 15:54
I got to work right beside the SR-71's everyday at the 9th recon Beale AFB Ca for years. We would never get tired of watching the bird being prep for flight. Everyone would stare with amazement at Kelly Johnsons awesome Black Bird. Just being there and seeing what we saw was enough for us to have to sign a paper of NON discloser. "You didn't see this" "type of paper"....This was in the 70's...I deployed to Mildenhal England and to Okinawa Japan to the OL sites TDY several times. Never got tired of the long hours of work helping the 9th Recon keeping her Flying. Don't let anyone kid you thou, we still have a few like Tail number 971 and 837 still in good working order at Edwards AFB Drydent Flight Reserch Center in Ca,, "Up-From-The-Ashes"
Charles Gascoigne, e-mail, 27.08.2010 06:39
I worked on all SR-71s as an Avionics technician and a Mission Recording techician;1966-1969 at both Beal AFB and OL-8 (Kadena). I did the pre-flight and post flight inspections, besides repairs. I was also involved with mission tape reviews for mainteance purposes.
I have heard all kinds of stories and many untrue claims.
The SR-71 As,Bs & C flew between 1950 and 2150 mph and between 78,000 and 81,000 ft. This was for safety, maintenance and mision profile reasons. Variations are due to different air temperatures and individual aircraft trim differences.
The polits, which I have great respect for, were instructed to keep the aircraft well inside the safety limites of the flight envelopes. Navigation was controled by the RSO and the Astro-Navigation unit tied to the auto-pilot. Again, this was a tightly controled procedure to insure mission preformance and NOT over-stress the aircraft.
Hot doging a SR-71 was not a good carrer move for these carrer polits, especially when every twitch of the throttles and flight controls were recorded for post flight analysis.
Were there exceptions? Yes,but not many. Life was dangerous enough just doing the riht thing. Expereiencing an un-start would be excitement enough.
Sevin R., e-mail, 25.08.2010 03:36
I got to see one land when I was a kid at McClellan AFB in 1989. I also saw one, from the ground looking up, refueling behind a KC-10 that same year. Sweet ass plane, for sure!
Rohit Pattnaik, e-mail, 22.08.2010 23:39
As an enthusiast Aviator ,This is by far the best Plane ever built(In public knowledge..) I am sure Lockheed left no stones unturned to develop this aircraft....Everything including the fuel was literally invented for this speed demon... regardless of all the nefarious purposes the aircraft might have been used for.... it is the epitome of technical marvel.... Hats off Lockheed and majorly standing ovation for Pratt and Whitney .... The engine amazes me the most.....
Tex Brown, e-mail, 10.05.2010 15:39
I was stationed at Beale for five years with the 9th SRW and a few TDY's to Kadena. I worked in the AGE shop maintening the ground support equipment one of which was the AG330 Start Cart w/ two 425 cu. in. Buick engines coupled together in parallel with a Dynamo trani and a very wide cog belt. The four barrel carburetors and straight exhaust pipes output over 750 HP to drive a four inch gear in a hydraulic probe just to turn the SR's engine to ignition speed. In Kadena, we had to follow the SR to the launch with a start cart if needed. Once, I saw a take-off when the left engine flamed out. The crew had to continue the take off or risk crashing the acft. It was said to be the first take-off ever done with only one engine. The crew saved that acft. My assignment with the SR was the best and proudest years of my 22 years in the USAF.
Curtis Culbertson, e-mail, 06.04.2010 09:08
This is for F D Thompson, Mr. Thompson, were you in Charge of the SAS-A/P shop at Beale AFB. around 1965? Thanks, Curtis
Mike, e-mail, 28.03.2010 10:46
I watched them take off when i went to high school @ w.t. ellis close to Beale A.F.B. Most perfect aircraft ever built,i miss them.
Doug Rodrigues, e-mail, 13.03.2010 11:58
I worked part-time for Ret. Col. Bill Skliar back in the 80's. Skliar was the third pilot to ever fly the prototype SR-71. The first two pilots were civilians. Skliar wrote the original military flight manual for that early model. He said that as he sat in the cockpit for his first flight in that bird, he asked the civilian pilot for some advice. The answer he got was just three words..."Just be careful." Skliar had an interesting history. He was an enlisted man until 1948 when he was accepted into the Aviation Cadet Program. He got his wings and was eventually sent to Korea. He shot down a MIG in Korea while flying an F-84, unaffectionally known as "The Hog." Later, he flew F-100's and then F-4's in Viet Nam. He didn't like the F-100 because of it's occassional habit to flame out when you went to afterburner. As Skliar told me, "The last place you want to have a flame out is above the guy you just bombed." Sadly, he was killed when the wing of his race plane folded during flight testing. He never made it out of the cockpit. A full size copy of his Formula One race plane, with others, is hanging in the Golden Sierra Casino near the Horse Racing betting section.
paco, e-mail, 08.02.2010 18:25
The suits were developed in the early 50's for the RB-57F, used on the early U-2's,the SR-71 (both the A-11 & 12) and the Gemini program. The Apollo suit was extra vehicular and used for the moon landing.
The engines were certified to Mach 5, the airframe was the limiting factor.
The number of A/C built is still classified as is the operational altitude and speed. Somewhere on the internet is a 1st persom description of a BDA overflight of Lybia. The pilor and REO confirmed mach 3.7 and 87,ooo feet.
JAD, e-mail, 05.02.2010 16:03
I was so fortunate to have worked on the HABU (SR-71) at Kadena,Okinawa. I loved that it taxied right from the hangar and already had clearance to take off. It required what seemed to be only a few feet down the runway before it went perpendicular to the runway. It was so quick to go vertical that the AB's seemed to be just inches above the runway. . . . . . on a perfectly sunny and cloud free day the HABU was a spec in the sky and poof gone, totally out of sight. Upon returning from its mission, touching down on the runway, the all black with dark red lettering, the HABU would deploy its bright orange drag shutes. After jettisoning the shute the HABU would immediately return to the hangar and once in side we would close the hangar doors. That aircraft would have fit right into a Star Wars movie and you would not have blinked an eye that it was out of place. Like many of the people that have put their testimonies above, so are my feelings for the SR-71. It was told to me that it received it's designation SR-71 from President Johnson when in a speech he called it the "SR-71" when it should have been "RS-71", (not sure if that is true though). So, you didn't hear it from me. Tnanks for reading this and thanks for sharing your thoughts as well. JAD
Cecil, e-mail, 04.02.2010 03:43
I was an Air Traffic Controller, stationed at Beal, this aircraft was and is the greatest. I also was debriefed on one of the missions and was totally in awe. It's faster than any other aircraft on this planet.
F D Thompson, e-mail, 15.01.2010 10:58
The diagram given in this article appears to be that of the YF-12A. The cropped leading edges of the fairings are the result of the FLIR which was mated to the acquistion radar and weapons system. The SR-71 did not have this configuration.
bob, e-mail, 15.01.2010 00:08
@ Ken Collins Wow! I'm please to read You DUTCH 21. Please teach us the true about service ceiling and max speed. Do another black project is done? Although I fear information are confidential and still classified...
Gary Eubanks, e-mail, 13.01.2010 04:21
The best of legends are always those that leave most to imagination, I'll add some fuel to that fire: Had the security clearance and reason to be on flight line one day at Beale AFB, Marysville, Ca. to see a takeoff, launch would be the more appropriate term. LOUDEST plane imaginable, if you blinked you missed it. Super long exhaust trails with the bright Mach rings and rate of climb makes the Space Shuttle look like an amusement ride. You could clearly hear and feel it long after beyond visual range. I got to rub elbows with flight crews of the birds at a SR-71 reunion in a Reno casino. I was sworn to double secret probation about absolute statistics but here's a few ticklers: Published top speed bogus-way way beyond that. Richter scale sonic boom one early AM in Reno/Tahoe area plus UFO reports, Tungusta class meteor sighting, 911 switchboard panic, airliner crash, nuke detonation later brushed off at Beale as SR routine final approach-no further comment. Published service ceiling bogus-running joke everyone screwed out of astronaut pins. MIG-25 peril bogus-like entering a Cessna 150 in the Unlimited Class at Reno Championship air races. Missile launch peril bogus-like shooting bottle rockets at a 747 at cruise altitude. Russians probably went broke at all the hardware put in the air, they all fell down on something/somebody(s). Off shore Russian coast flight rules bogus- plenty of nice snap shots of the Kremlin in lockers under the centerfolds. Retirement status bogus-nothing that good ever goes out of style, no one quits with a winner. Replaced by spy satellites bogus-They can do amazing things but can't go anywhere we want them to at a moment's notice and no mathematically predictable orbital plane, speed, and altitude. Built by analog thinkers in a now digital world- nothing exists to take a shot at the title. This does present mind boggling certainties, to be continued,as always keep 'em guessing...
Ken Collins, A-12 & SR-71 Pilo, e-mail, 07.12.2009 22:14
To Amit Kaushik and any other A-12 / SR-71 admirer: There is a lot of good SR-71 books available. One of the best for general info (Paul Crickmore's)and crew info is Rich Graham's "SR-71 Blackbird, Stories, Tales and Legends". I would be pleased to answer any of your questions. A-12(1962-1968), SR-71 (1968-1974).
MoonLord, e-mail, 18.10.2009 04:34
"re-entry" means from space to atmosphere and not from mission. BB'capability Sounds like less than 528k feet to me
latona, e-mail, 16.09.2009 09:29
Ran into a Vietnam pilot who lost his hearing over Hanoi. He was sent stateside to act as XO for a general running the Blackbird squadron. He told a story of how they limited re-entry points into U.S. airspace to avoid witnesses; in this case, the Olympic Peninsula in WA also offers early UFO sightings.
Anyway, he and the general flew up from CA to observe the "re-entry" of a BB. "I'll never forget what I saw", said Bob, "I could see a glowing nose, then just for a second or two, it seemed to split the air and a wave or aura radiated out."
Sounds like a bit more than 85k feet to me! Anyone else hear the rumors about the touch & go in Russia in the 70's?
MoonLord, e-mail, 01.09.2009 16:24
You can read _http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low_Earth_orbit, low earth orbit(LEO) requires at least 160 Km (100 Miles or 528,000 feet) and max 2,000 Km (1,240 Miles or 6,547,200 feet). SR 71 cannot reach low earth orbit. I know, of course, there are classified capability, but please, remember that SR 71 was a project of the year 1958. At _http://img214.imageshack.us/img214/2056/maxaltitudeandspeed.jpg, you can see SR 71 cockpit on fly: the performance ceiling is higher than wrote in the specification tab and it can be better (also speed), BUT it cannot reach 528,000 feet of altitude. I'm sure SR-71 is COMPLETELY decommissioned, because a new black project is done in 1989. Rumors called it "aurora file or aurora project" but his name seems to be SR 75 penetrator. Please see my screenshot(_http://www.uploadline.com/?&fn=766356396381&st=OK&op=upload_result), and Chris Gibson report at _http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread60770/pg1. Sr 75 has a fantastic propulsion system called "pulse detonating engine" (see the strange chemical contrails in my screenshot) that push it up MACH 5 (hypersonic speed). Ed Fouche says it's the first TAV (trans-atmospheric vehicle. Search Ed Fouche info to proof it. All screenshot belong to discovery channel movie (you can see discovery channel logo) and are NOT classified.
- Jason, e-mail, 29.08.2009 09:01
The Sr-71 was decommissioned, but not completely. It has been touted even by our own Government that much of the Blackbirds capability will remain classified. Knowing someone who worked on, and with the Sr-71. Shane is not far off by asking about re-entry. The Blackbird has several different noses. Some which have not been declassified. One might just be for re-entry capabilities. My understanding is that; it can if needed reach a low orbit, and re-enter. The fuel is mixed with oxygen and at the right mixture/pressure for such a possibility. (Food for thought)
MoonLord, e-mail, 30.07.2009 00:12
Speed and temperature are too different. Space Shuttle on re entry, drop in the atmosphere at 16,000 mph (more or less MACH 23 at the beginning)from 28,000 mph which was the orbital speed and with the max temperature of 3000 degrees F.(1600 degrees Celsius). Shuttle was developed to resist at 7823 m/s (Atmospheric Re-Entry speed), Apollo capsule at 11000 m/s (36,090 ft/sec).Titanium alloy (which SR 71 is made)cannot resist without deformation and disruption. SR 71 was developed just to take pictures, not for Atmospheric Re-Entry
SHANE H., e-mail, 28.07.2009 01:04
I grew up watching the Blackbird flying over Palmdale CA.USA LOCKEED MARTIN SKUNK WORKS. such an awsome plane to watch. My only Question is Do you think it could keep up with the Space Shuttle on Re enty? A reply would be very nice TY Shane
MoonLord, e-mail, 11.06.2009 14:48
Clarence Leonard "Kelly" Johnson simply was a genius. No way MIG 25 to catch SR 71. Re high radiation: SR 71 pilot's used EVA (ExtraVehicular Activity) crew shuttle suit modified. 150,000 USD each one ! @ shane : you can read answer at _http://www.aerospaceweb.org/question/propulsion/q0195.shtml or _http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?2,1944906 and _http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?1,1944907
see you soon
shane, e-mail, 06.06.2009 17:16
How do you convert kilonewtons in horsepower?
Howie, e-mail, 11.04.2009 19:14
While stationed in Okinawa in the mid 60's my co-workers would marvel as these magnificent birds would take off from Kadena AFB, after what seemed like a few feet off the ground they would point the nose almost straight up and climb out of sight in a matter of seconds into a clear blue sky, it would make your heart skip a beat watching them.
leo rudnicki, e-mail, 07.04.2009 21:24
When it comes to airshow spectacles I've seen,I recall a Fiesler storch,a Harrier,Concorde and Bob Hoover in the yellow Mustang. Most of all, an overhead pass by an SR71 set my knees to shaking. I'd like one but the gas mileage is poor and it won't fit in my garage. Difficulty in interception was a combination of speed, altitude and stealth, with leading edge RAM, Iron-ball ferrite paint and aerodynamic shape, by the time you've said it's coming, it's gone.
Eric Bishop, e-mail, 10.03.2009 22:15
to jeelocked the SR-71 would fly somewhere it was not to fly and the russain would set up mig -25 to get the blackbird they would set each mig apart and when the SR-71 past the mig the mig would go to full power and then launch his missles and that was how the russian would try to get a blackbird but they never did.
Eric Bishop, e-mail, 10.03.2009 22:11
If you ever want to see the last B model left it is in the Kalamazoo Aviation History Museum and it is so beautiful and I had just been able to sit under it today.
Frode Bergflødt, e-mail, 01.02.2009 17:29
Some years ago we were visited by a Blackbird which had to do an engine replacement after fire. I think all the involved personell at Sola AFB (Stavanger, Norway) + all the spectators still remember the fantastic take-off and "fly-past" the day it left us. To repair this complexed aircraft in a remote area was a good demo to show what the USAAF was capable to.
Pete, e-mail, 26.12.2008 19:04
"HABU" - never before & never again will anything fly like the Blackbird. It gave me the chills & proud to be an American everytime I saw this great bird. Pete (labels)
Ross Riddell, e-mail, 21.09.2008 12:05
I have always had a real interest in this plane and cannot seem to get enough to read on th is magnificent piece of work by Kelly Johnson and his crew. It is simply a beautiful piece of work.
Bob Mason, e-mail, 01.07.2008 17:32
The engines were a bear to work on, had to be especially careful with the chemical ignition system, never believe the purge tag on it, use the longest wrenches and open the b nuts slowly if smoke appeared back off..
David, e-mail, 17.06.2008 02:21
They wore astronaut suits.
I.Kemp, e-mail, 10.06.2008 15:42
Can anyone tell me how the pilot plus 1 protected themselves against the high radiation exposure wheh flying the SR 71 ?
Jim Nowlin, e-mail, 19.05.2008 01:34
The observed altitudes are significantly higher than the maximum quoted!
Charles Webber, e-mail, 04.05.2008 02:32
Flabob is building a wind tee that duplicates the Sr-71 exactly as seen from the air, but from the ground looks like a real prehistoric Black Bird of some sort. Take a look in several weeks. Don't let it scare you.
ronald bankert, e-mail, 26.04.2008 22:00
one of the sweetest aircraft ever made.i worked on the black bird for two years.it was a jewel to watch fly.
jeelocked, e-mail, 01.04.2008 22:16
Re Mig-25. Can't recall (cite) sources but the Mig-25 tried on numerous occasions to catch the Blackbird. NADA.
Craig, e-mail, 29.02.2008 17:55
The pictures you have are both YF-12's and SR-71. The main external difference is the YF-12 Chine only goes up to the nose cone just ahead of the pilot. The SR the Chine goes all the way up. The top picture also show the downward middle vertical stabilizer which was a YF-12 giveaway - the SR-71 did not have that downward stabilizer. Also on the top picture you can see the the serial number 934 that was one of the 12's. The 3 that I worked on were 934, 935, 936. The other part of the Chine and the nose was that you had two different types of radar. The YF-12 had a normal radar dish that was about 5 foot in height. The pilots liked the fact that they could get the radar lock at "extream" distances.
oliver, e-mail, 31.01.2008 00:05
I am interested who else (company) submit proposals, and how these planes lookes alike for the contest in which Lockheed wins with YF-12! Help me someone
Dr. Inkfish, e-mail, 20.11.2007 04:31
Guys, have you ever heard about Mig 25?! A Russian mass production Mach3 interceptor ?! SR-71 is a great plane - the fastest!!! But it is a recon plane = no weapons !!! Check this out !!! http://www.aviastar.org/air/russia/mig-25.php
Shantanu Choudhari, e-mail, 03.04.2007 13:40
Blackbird was one of the factor that ended the cold war between United States and Soviet Union. Even Soviet Union disagreed existance of such a plane for long time, but their assumptions were proved wrong and US Air Force had gone far off them in the race of Fighter Aircraft. The plane still remains an engineering Marval and still a dream for many strong militarised countries. I pay complete tribute to the United States to aimed and achived this Engineering Success !! Thanks Shantanu
AMIT KAUSHIK, e-mail, 05.12.2006 09:42
Blackbird is still the best plane ever built. It has improved a lot and the technology used to build such a plane is extraordinary. Most of the country can"t even think of making such a plane that Lockheed built in 1961. I would love to be part of it. Can anyone help me? I will be waiting for reply. thanks AMIT
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