SR-71 Blackbird - Top 10 awesome facts about the world’s fastest jet airplane

05 Aug 2016 10:32 653
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The SR-71 Blackbird is one of the most spectacular aircraft ever built. The aircraft that was way ahead of its time…

Top 10 awesome facts about the fastest manned jet-powered aircraft:

10. The SR-71 Blackbird did not carry any conventional weapons for self-defense. Most of the time for self-defense It relied heavily on its stealth capabilities along with radar and communications jamming sensors.

9. The requirements for piloting at SR-71 was same as the requirements for being an astronaut. Pilots required pressurized flight suits like the astronauts and had to be married for even being considered for the job.

8. During it service life from 1964 to 1998 a total of 3,551 mission sorties was flown and it has more than 1000 surface to air (SAM) missiles fired at it. Every single time all it had to do was to accelerate and fly higher to outrun these missiles. Not a single SR-71 was shot down during its long service life.

7. Mach 2.0 (2469.6 km/h or 1534.54 mph) is the top speed of many modern fighter jets using afterburners which is very uneconomical in terms of fuel consumption. At this speed the SR-71 Blackbird is just warming up. It is more fuel efficient at speeds higher than Mach 3.2.

6. The SR-71 Blackbird’s engines could push the aircraft faster than Mach 3.3 but it was limited to cruising speed of Mach 3.2 to prevent the titanium outer skin from overheating due to air friction. Some pilots have pushed the SR-71 much faster than the official speed record but the maximum top speed is still kept a classified state secret.

5. The SR-71 Blackbird had a service ceiling of 85,000 feet (26 km or 16 miles). However, many sources claim that it could fly as high as 100,000 feet and higher in case of emergency. The jet could comfortably cruise at 80,000 feet.

4. SR-71 Blackbird was designed to leak fuel while it was on ground due to the lack of materials at the time capable of withstanding the extreme temperature differences. The fuel tank was designed with gaps which would expand when in flight, sealing the leaking fuel tanks. Therefore, the SR-71 had to be refueled after takeoff run and the initial warming up flight.

3. The SR-71 was constructed mainly out of titanium (Approx. 85%). At the time the Soviet Union was the biggest producer of titanium in the world. The CIA had to create several cover-up companies in order to acquire the required amounts of titanium from the Soviet Union without arousing any suspicion. Fun fact: The Soviet Union was the main target of the spy plane’s missions.

2. Titanium was any extremely difficult metal to work with and the Lockheed company’s skunk works division building the aircraft had to invent numerous new tools and innovative techniques which are used even till this day to work with this corrosion resistant and extremely high strength metal which had the tendency to shatter if handled improperly. In 1968, Lockheed was ordered to destroy all tooling used to create the SR-71 and its similar looking predecessor the A-12.

1. The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird made its first flight on December 22, 1964 and till this date is the official speed record holder for fastest manned jet-powered aircraft. It set this speed record in 1976 at a whopping 3530 km/h or 2,193.2 mph (Mach 3.3). Fun fact: This record was set with just one engine!

Audio credits: Alex Lisi - Helipad Siege & Tactics

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