Awesome Facts About The SR-71 Blackbird – Lockheed Martin’s Successor t The Fastest Plane Ever

the sr-71 is a combination of power and majesty when you look at it it just has a mystique that I think is gonna live for generations and generations I wish I could take everybody up to 85,000 feet because you can see 350 miles in eight directions you see the curvature the earth mountains 10,000 foot mountains and flat I can say without a question is that people knew that there be an SR flight and when they crank those engines the Buick walk cat would scream then when the SR engines came on people from around the face would just kind of stop her 17 decibels that’s what the SR was on takeoff six presidents used the sr-71 extensively because they had a great sense of confidence that it could in fact go out collect the information required and bring it back hundreds of missiles were fired at this airplane I couldn’t tell you how many times fighters came up to intercept me I remember part of our missions when I was flying in the late 70s was fly through rings of sa5 so we knew it was a very capable missile system they weren’t concerned too much about the S arc but they were very concerned about others and they figure we could collect enough information and we can understand how that missile system would work if we carried the nose camera which we called the country’s camera it took a picture 72 miles wide in 64 minutes you would film a hundred thousand square miles the film itself was ten thousand five hundred feet long five inches wide I would say my mission into the Middle East for President Carter was one of the most interesting it was supposed to be three missions but we picked up all the targets and that first mission that they needed so that when the next two missions were cancelled the airplane loved to fly straight and climb and accelerate most the time at altitude eighty to eighty five thousand feet it was kind of like a nice Beamer or Cadillac but the airplane sensitivity was on a curb like this so the faster you went the airplane became much more sensitive and and had to be handled much more delicately the genius of this airplane was that the faster we went the only airplane the world we burn less fuel the greatest sonic boom that was ever setup it was May 1972 three sr-71s took off from Okinawa Japan and simultaneously overflew Hanoi at the same time I’ve talked to the POWs they said it scared the living daylights out of the guards because they’d never heard a shock like that it didn’t sound like a bomb and actually fled we called the shock wave that came across the ground the sound of freedom can you imagine that sometimes we were tasked overfly foreign ceremonies to boom heads of state when they were greeting each other to remind them that they were doing things that were countered to US policy as I go around the country and try to visit and work with museums there’s a whole new generations of young men and women that are absolutely fascinated by this airplane I was blessed in the Air Force because I was lucky to fly a number of Lockheed products Lockheed was always there to bring in new innovation that met our needs as war fighters so we could better do our job you know it’s a a great celebration than in a hundred years has led to new vistas that who could have predicted you you with a cruising speed of mach and an estimated top speed of mach the sr-71 blackbird holds seven aircraft records including the fastest air-breathing manned aircraft officially measured at 2190 miles per hour though it’s top speed is still classified in a climb the aircraft has been known to reach an altitude of 95,000 feet twice as high as the highest altitude permitted for a commercial passenger jet the mikoyan-gurevich make 25 is the second fastest jet-powered manned aircraft in the world it’s made to go mach but that uses so much fuel that it can only go that fast for a few minutes in extreme circumstances the plane has been pushed to mach but at a cost of major damage to the plane’s engines on the other hand at mach the sr-71 blackbird is just getting warmed up so how did Lockheed skunkworks get a plane that weighs up to 78 tons to fly around the world non-stop at three times the speed of sound 16 miles out considering it was designed in 1962 in a time before computer-aided design the answer is very carefully the Blackbird program originally called oxcart pioneered many of the technologies found only in the most advanced military aircraft today including an all titanium airframe a mostly titanium skin the use of lightweight composite materials for the rest of the skin and some key components chines that run down the length of the aircraft to reduce drag and increase lift a stealthy design that minimizes its radar cross-section and in a time before GPS the ability to circumnavigate the globe with pinpoint accuracy but the real key to the Blackbird success came down to two things an extremely aerodynamic design and a very unique engine when you look at the Blackbird you can see the sleekness in its aerodynamic design looking at its vertical cross-section you can see how balanced it is above and below a central horizontal plane its delta wing is relatively thin minimizing its disturbance through the air when you look at it from above you can see how its whole body fits within a single elongated triangle running from the front pitot tube to the wingtips this makes sure that the front shock wave created by the nose at supersonic speeds doesn’t intersect with the rest of the aircraft reducing overall drag its main body is straight and long like an arrow with a small amount of taper as it reaches the back to gracefully shed the air flowing above and below the aircraft but all of the aerodynamics in the world won’t push a plane up to Mach 3 for that you need the Blackbirds very unique engine the pratt & whitney j58 turbo ramjet at slow speeds the j58 works just like other jet engines with an afterburner air flows into the front of the engine through a bladed compressor fan which squishes the air and pushes it into tubes called burners here fuel is added and burnt the hot exhaust flows out of the burners through the rear turbine making it spin which drives the compressor to keep the cycle going the force of the exhaust leaving the engine pushes the airplane forward but jet engines are limited in the amount of force that can generate through exhaust alum the fuel supply has to be limited in the burner to reduce the heat of the exhaust so that the turbine doesn’t melt this means that the exhaust still contains a lot of oxygen so in order not to waste it additional fuel is added into the stream of exhaust and burnt after it passes the turbine but before it exits the aircraft for additional thrust this is what we call the afterburner up until Mach 2 point 2 this is the same cycle that the Blackbird uses for thrust however above Mach 2 point 2 the j58 pulls out a big trick six large tubes open that direct 20% of the dense air from the compressor around the burner and turbine moving it directly into the afterbirth this helps get around the biggest problem with all afterburners they are incredibly inefficient they can provide a lot of force but at a huge fuel cost on the other hand the cool dense slow-moving air coming directly from the compressor extracts more power out of the fuel added in the afterburner when these bypass tubes open the standard turbojet is converted into what’s called a turbo ramjet a ramjet uses the forward motion of the aircraft to compress the air before combustion and the fuel is burnt directly before exiting the engine kind of like a rocket but Ram Jets can’t be started on the ground the plane has to be moving before the ramjet can start working so for takeoff and landing the turbojet part of the j58 does all of the work while at the cruising speed of mach it only provides about 20% of the plane’s forward thrust with a ramjet afterburner providing the rest ah synergy the interesting thing is that above Mach 2 Ram Jets are more fuel-efficient than turbo jets which means that the Blackbird gets better gas mileage at mach than it does traveling at slower speeds these unique design elements are what allowed the plane to cruise higher and faster than any other manned aircraft its convertible engines give it the best of both worlds a turbojet to take off land refuel and bring it up to speed and a ramjet to give it the power to fly 3200 nautical miles at three times the speed of sound on one tank of gas and considering that all that was designed with just a pencil paper and a slide rule it makes the black Baird even that much more of a technological achievement unfortunately the Blackbird will never fly again although it outran every one of the 4,000 missiles fired at it during its missions the cost of fly-in maintaining aircraft was so great that in 1990 with the increased availability of surveillance and strike drones the US Congress ordered the birds retirement three plans were reactivated in 1993 due to increased tensions in North Korea in the Middle East but these planes were again retired in 1998 NASA continued to operate to sr-71s as scientific test platforms until they to retired the plane in 1999 you may have heard at the end of 2013 Lockheed Martin proposed a successor to the sr-71 called the SR 72 even if it is ever produced it will still never break the sr-71 s records though it’s designed to fly at speeds from zero to Mach 6 like many other recent advances in aviation the SR 72 is a drone it’s turbojet engine for takeoff and landing is housed separately than at supersonic scramjet leaving the J 58 and the Blackbird family to be forever unique a fantastic and surreal memory in the history of aviation the plane that dreams are made of for tech laboratories I’m tech Adams saying keep thinking and thanks for watching the well known sr-71 is actually the fourth airplane in the Blackbird family the original plane designed by Lockheed skunk works was the a12 spikeless not our average Museum it’s not just a stop on your way by as you’re passing through this is a destination you …

 

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