The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird was a superfast strategic reconnaissance aircraft of the United States Air Force. It was built by Lockheed Martin and made its maiden flight in 1964. This aircraft held the record of speed for nearly 40 years. Here we introduce some top facts that make this aircraft incredible:
- This is the world’s fastest aeroplane which can reach speed of 2,193 miles per hour.
- In 1990, the SR-71 Blackbird flew from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. in 64 minutes and 20 seconds.
- The windshield of the aircraft was made of quartz and was ultrasonically fused to the titanium hull. This was produced to manage the temperature during the flights at Mach 3.
- Blackbird’s pilots had to be between the age of 25 and 40 and married. Also they had to undergo evaluations to determine whether they were mentally stable.
- The plane used a special fuel with a very high flash point.
- The aircraft had to be refuelled immediately after take-off.
- It got its nickname “Blackbird” for its mystery. Moreover, usually it was so quiet in the cockpit that one of the Blackbird’s pilots said it was possible to hear a pin drop.
- Its navigation system called “R2-D2” had a sensor so powerful that it could detect up to 61 stars in broad daylight while the plane was still on the ground.
- The material of tires of the supersonic aircraft was created particularly to reject heat. The tires had a unique silver coloration which arose from the aluminium powder impregnation. The pilot of this aircraft faced two main survival problems. The first problem was the standard oxygen mask. When a human is 43,000 feet above in the sky, the lungs cannot absorb enough oxygen. Another problem was the instant heat rise pulse on the body when exposed to a Mach 3.2 air flow during ejection would be about 230°C. To solve these problems, the David Clark Company was hired to produce protective full pressure suits for all of the crew members of the SR-71. These suits were later adopted for use on the Space Shuttle during ascent.
Sources: historyinorbit.com; odometer.com; wiki