The SR-71 Blackbird accrued about 2,800 hours of flight time during 24 years of active service with the U.S. Air Force. On its last flight, March 6, 1990, Lt. Col. Ed Yielding and Lt. Col. Joseph Vida set a speed record by flying from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., in 1 hour, 4 minutes, and 20 seconds, averaging 3,418 kilometers (2,124 miles) per hour. At the flight’s conclusion, they landed at Washington-Dulles International Airport and turned the airplane over to the Smithsonian Museum.
The Blackbird is one of the most magnificent military jets ever developed. People have been fascinated with the aircraft for decades, and not only because of the aircraft’s capabilities. The aircraft has played an important military role in international conflicts for nearly thirty years.
The Lockheed SR-71 “Blackbird” is a long-range, Mach 3+ strategic reconnaissance aircraft that was operated by the United States Air Force (USAF). It was developed as a black project from the Lockheed A-12 reconnaissance aircraft in the 1960s by Lockheed and its Skunk Works division. Renowned American aerospace engineer Clarence “Kelly” Johnson was responsible for many of the design’s innovative concepts. During reconnaissance missions, the SR-71 operated at high speeds and altitudes to allow it to outrace threats. If a surface-to-air missile launch was detected, the standard evasive action was simply to accelerate and outfly the missile. The SR-71 was designed to have basic stealthy characteristics and served as a precursor to future stealth aircraft.
The SR-71 served with the U.S. Air Force from 1964 to 1998. A total of 32 aircraft were built; Only 12 were lost in accidents, but none lost to enemy action. The SR-71 has been given several nicknames, including Blackbird and Habu. Since 1976, it has held the world record for the fastest air-breathing manned aircraft, a record previously held by the YF-12.
Air Plane Physical Description:
Twin-engine, two-seat, supersonic strategic reconnaissance aircraft; airframe constructed largley of titanium and its alloys; vertical tail fins are constructed of a composite (laminated plastic-type material) to reduce radar cross-section; Pratt and Whitney J58 (JT11D-20B) turbojet engines feature large inlet shock cones.
- Country of Origin
- United States of America
- Clarence L. “Kelly” Johnson
- Lockheed Aircraft Corporation
- Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Chantilly, VA
- Boeing Aviation Hangar
- Overall: 18ft 5 15/16in. x 55ft 7in. x 107ft 5in., 169998.5lb. (5.638m x 16.942m x 32.741m, 77110.8kg)
- Other: 18ft 5 15/16in. x 107ft 5in. x 55ft 7in. (5.638m x 32.741m x 16.942m)