Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

SR-71 on the ground during sunset
The SR-71 flies at more than three times the speed of sound at altitudes in excess of 80,000 feet (approximately 15 miles high); for example, three times the speed of sound (Mach 3) is more than 2,000 miles per hour. Congress appropriated funds and directed the Air Force to recommission a small fleet of SR-71s, two A models and one B model. The aircraft were assigned to the 9th Reconnaissance Wing's Detachment 2 at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., before retirement. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Air-to-Air overhead front view of SR-71A
BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- An air-to-air overhead front view of an SR-71A strategic reconnaissance aircraft. The SR-71, unofficially known as the "Blackbird," is a long-range, advanced, strategic reconnaissance aircraft developed from the Lockheed A-12 and YF-12A aircraft. The U.S. Air Force retired its fleet of SR-71s on Jan. 26, 1990, but returned them in 1995 until January 1997. Throughout its nearly 24-year career, the SR-71 remained the world's fastest and highest-flying operational aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael Haggerty)
SR-71 iced down due to freezing rain at Lackland AFB
Freezing rain encased the upper half of an SR-71 Blackbird and formed icicles along the leading and trailing edge of the static display aircraft Jan. 16 at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lance Cheung)
SR-71B with landing with shute deployed.
The SR-71 lands with drag chute at Beale Air Force Base, Calif. (U.S. Air Force photo)
SR-71B dual cockpit front view.
This photo shows a head-on view of NASA's SR-71B, used for pilot proficiency and training, on the ramp at the Air Force's Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, shortly before delivery to the Ames-Dryden Flight Research Facility (later, Dryden Flight Research Center) at Edwards, California. NASA operated two of these unique aircraft, an SR-71A, for high-speed, high altitude research, and this SR- 71B pilot trainer for most of the decade of the 1990s. The "B" model is special because of its raised rear cockpit, which provided a second pilot position so a trainer and an experienced pilot could both see what was going on during flights. Image courtesy of NASA.
SR-71 Full afterburner takeoff.
NASA’s SR-71 streaks into the twilight with full afterburner on the first night/science flight from the Dryden Flight Research Facility, Mar. 9, 1993. Onboard were research pilot Steve Ishmael and flight engineer Marta Bohn-Meyer.
3 SR-71 Blackbird parked at Dryden.
The original trio of SR-71 "Blackbirds" loaned to NASA by the U.S. Air Force for high-speed, high-altitude research line the ramp at the Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California. The three former reconnaissance aircraft, two SR-71 "A" models and one "B" model, can fly more than 2200 mph and at altitudes of over 80,000 feet.

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