It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


SR-71 Blackbird Information

page: 1

log in


posted on Nov, 14 2007 @ 06:44 AM
Howdy Folks,

Got another email from a "friend of a friend", and thought I'd share with y'all.

I ran a search on the content and found a blog with the exact same thing in it. I'm not sure if the sender is this blogger, or if the blogger I just linked to copied the email verbatim into their own blog. The email was sent to a few people, so no telling how far it already spread. Anyway, without further ado, the email:


Last weekend at the museum of flight (Boeing Field, Seattle) was the 2007 Blackbird Forum. SR-71 pilots, reconnaissance officers, and crew chiefs discussed their experiences with the airplane and answered questions. The capabilities of that airplane built with 1960 technology are mind boggling.

The engine is a masterpiece. At mach 3.2, 75% of the thrust comes from the inlet. (The nose spike moves aft 26 inches.) Air pressure in front of the compressor increases from 0.5 psi to 14.5 psi over a distance of 5 feet, while internal airflow slows from mach 3.2 to mach 0.8 so the compressor blades can handle it without stalling. Bypass tubes divert extra air around the engine directly to the afterburner and cause it to perform like a ram jet.

Airspeed is not the limiting factor. At mach 3.2 a primary instrument is compressor inlet temperature. If it exceeds 427 degrees Centigrade, the compressor blades disintegrate. The pilot monitors the CIT and lets the airspeed take care of itself.

At mach 3.2, the titanium skin heats considerably. The fuselage stretches six inches. The fuselage is six fuel tanks. They leak all the time on the ground, but at altitude they heat up and expand, sealing the joints. After some fuel is consumed, the fuel still cools the bottom of the tanks, but is no longer in contact with the top. Therefore the top of the fuselage stretches more than the bottom, causing it to actually bend down somewhat at each end.

When the USSR shot down our U-2 in 1960, Kelly Johnson immediately realized we needed something higher and faster that no enemy could reach, so the Skunk Works went back to the drawing board. The first flight was 22 months later. Try that today. We lost three out of 50 due to accidents. (One broke up after colliding with the drone it had just launched.) No enemy was ever able to touch it.

SecDef Robert McNamara ordered all the SR-71 manufacturing tools destroyed so he would have more tax dollars to waste on the F-111. In 1994 William Jefferson Clinton used line item veto to cancel all funding for SR-71s. They are now in museums. The pilots said that we really need that airplane today for reconnaissance over places like Iran, Iraq, Syria, Korea, China, Russia, etc. If it were not for Clinton, SR-71 would still be performing that reconnaissance today. The argument that satellites can do the job is not correct. Any school boy with a laptop can tell you when a satellite will be overhead, so the bad guys simply shut things down, and later restart them. On the other hand, the enemy never knows where or when the SR-71 will suddenly appear out of nowhere.

At 80,000 feet the cameras can see 80 miles. From 20 miles off the coast, the airplane can photograph objects 60 miles inland. The requirement for a rock solid gyro stabilized camera platform was paramount. My favorite analogy was this:
Nail a four foot square sheet of plywood to the bottom of the airplane. Drill a quarter inch hole through the middle of it. Insert a quarter inch dowel that is 16 MILES long. Drag the dowel across the surface of the earth at 30 miles per MINUTE.
Program the camera to take one photo per second of a specified set of coordinates for four minutes, in order to examine the spot from all angles. Do this in such a way that all photos are crystal clear, with no blurring.

Pilots, who are not trained as photo interpreters, say they can read the photos easily. One pilot looked at an Infrared photo of a USAF base and immediately recognized the shadow (heat signature) of a spot where a B-52 had been parked one hour earlier.

Celestial navigation is automatic. There are about 50 stars programmed into the computer. These stars can be observed by the navigation system while parked on the ramp during broad daylight. Although the pilot takes off and lands the airplane manually, the navigation system is accurate enough to put the airplane on the runway in zero-zero conditions after flying nonstop from California to Iraq and return with four inflight refuelings.

I've always been a fan of the SR-71, and I'd love to make it to that museum and see one up close.

posted on Nov, 14 2007 @ 07:13 AM
best of the best, the blackbird is a real feat of engineering.

this was the product of public schools who, instead of esteem based 'education' imposed a strict agenda of reading writing and most of all, arithmetic.

when science was cool, now its whoring and thuggery... hey! guess what the future looks like now?

congrats america.

posted on Nov, 14 2007 @ 07:23 AM

Originally posted by planetfall
this was the product of public schools who, instead of esteem based 'education' imposed a strict agenda of reading writing and most of all, arithmetic.

Blasphemy, sir! BLASPHEMY I SAY!!!

How dare schools expect our children to have to learn how to read and write. That's so unfair to the illiterate people, and would give our kids an unfair advantage. And arithmetic??? You mean math! Surely you cannot expect our children to be held accountable for studying numbers. I mean, when are they ever going to use those? That's what cash registers are for. So they don't have to learn math. They just need to know "that cost _this many_ dollars," and "here's your change." Anything else to expect of them is practically barbaric in cruelty.

It's much better now that instead of a GPA, children all get a nice green ribbon. Who the heck knew how to calculate GPA's anyway? Everyone knows what a ribbon means though. Yay ribbons! And a graduation ceremony at every grade level means they get to feel extra warm and special for making it all the way through at least part of an entire school year. That's why we're the top educated nation on Earth. Hooray modern education!

posted on Nov, 14 2007 @ 11:29 AM
The comment in the original quote that we "lost three out of 50 due to accidents" is not accurate. Out of the 50 Blackbird (A-12, YF-12A, M-21, and SR-71) airframes built, a total of 20 were lost due to accidents. These included five A-12, two YF-12A, one M-21, and twelve SR-71 aircraft.

A-12 (60-6926 / 123) - On 24 May 1963, CIA pilot Ken Collins was flying an inertial navigation system test mission from Area 51. After entering clouds, frozen water in the pitot-static boom prevented accurate airspeed data from reaching the flight instruments. The aircraft subsequently entered a stall and inverted flat spin. The pilot ejected safely.

A-12 (60-6928 / 125) - This aircraft was lost on 5 January 1967 while returning to bas follwing a trainiung mission. Due to a faulty fuel gauge, the aircraft ran out of fuel 70 miles short of Area 51. CIA pilot Walter Ray was forced to eject. Unfortunately, during ejection, the man-seat separation sequence malfunctioned and Ray was killed on impact with the ground, still strapped to his seat.

A-12 (60-6929 / 126) - Aircraft crashed on 28 December 1965, seven seconds into a functional check flight at Area 51 because the Stability Augmentation System (SAS) had been incorrectly wired. CIA pilot Mele Vojvodich ejected safely.

A-12 (60-6932 / 129) - This aircraft was lost in the South China Sea on 5 June 1968 during a training sortie from kaden Air Base, Okinawa, Japan. CIA pilot Jack Weeks was presumed killed, but no tarce of the aircraft or pilot was ever found.

A-12 (60-6939 / 133) - Crashed on final pproach to Area 51 on 9 July 1964 following a Mach 3 check flight. The flight controls locked up, and Lockheed test pilot Bill Park was forced to eject at an altitude of 200 feet in a 45 degree bank angle.

YF-12A (60-6934 / 1001) - This aircraft was seriously damaged on 14 August 1966 during a landing accident at Edwards AFB. It was not considered repairable. The rear half was later used to build the SR-71C (61-7981) trainer which flew for the first time on 14 March 1969.

YF-12A (60-6936 / 1003) - Crashed on 24 June 1971 on approach to Edwards AFB. Lt. Col. Ronald J. “Jack” Layton and systems operator Maj. William A. “Billy” Curtis ejected after a fire broke out due to a fuel line fracture caused by metal fatigue.

M-21 (60-6941 / 135) - Lost during a D-21 drone launch test flight over the Pacific Missile Range on 30 July 1966. Immediately following launch, the drone pitched down and struck the M-21, breaking it in half. Pilot Bill Park and Launch Control Officer Ray Torick ejected over the Pacific Ocean. Park survived but Torick drowned.

SR-71A (61-7950 / 2001) - The prototype SR-71 was lost on 10 January 1967 at Edwards AFB during an anti-skid braking system evaluation. The main undercarriage tires blew out and the resulting fire enveloped the aircraft as it ran off the end of the runway. Lockheed test pilot Art Peterson survived.

SR-71A (61-7952 / 2003) - This aircraft disintegrated on 25 January 1966 during a high-speed, high-altitude test flight from Edwards. Lockheed test pilot Bill Weaver survived although his ejection seat never left the plane. Reconnaissance System Officer (RSO) Jim Zwayer died. The incident occurred near Tucumcari, New Mexico.

SR-71A (61-7953 / 2004) - Lost on 18 December 1969 after the airplane pitched up and stalled. Col. Joe Rogers and RSO Maj. Gary Heidelbaugh ejected safely. The incident occurred near Shoshone, California.

SR-71A (61-7954 / 2005) - Damaged beyond repair on 11 April 1969 under circumstances similar to 61-7950. Lt. Col. William “Bill” Skliar and his RSO Maj. Noel Warner escaped unharmed.

SR-71B (61-7957 / 2007) - Crashed on approach to Beale AFB on 11 January 1968. Instructor pilot Lt. Col. Robert G. Sowers and Capt. David E. Fruehauf were forced to eject about 7 miles from Beale after all control was lost due to a double generator failure followed by a double flameout (caused by fuel cavitation).

SR-71A (61-7965 / 2016) - Crashed during night training sortie on 25 October 1967 after an INS platform failed, leading to erroneous attitude information being displayed in the cockpit. Maj. Roy L. St. Martin and RSO Capt. John F. Carnochan ejected safely near Lovelock, Nevada.

SR-71A (61-7966 / 2017) - Crashed on 13 April 1967 near Las Vegas, New Mexico, after entering a subsonic, high-speed stall. Capt. Earle M. Boone and Capt. Richard E. “Butch” Sheffield ejected safely.

SR-71A (61-7969 / 2020) - Crashed on 10 May 1970 during an operational mission from Kadena AB, Okinawa, against North Vietnam. Shortly after air-refueling, the pilot, Maj. William E. Lawson initiated a normal full power climb to avoid heavy thunderstorm activity that reached above 45,000 feet. Heavy with fuel, the aircraft was unable to maintain a high rate of climb and, as it entered turbulence, both engines flamed out. Lawson and Maj. Gilbert Martinez ejected safely. The plane crashed near Korat RTAFB, Thailand.

SR-71A (61-7970 / 2021) - Crashed near El paso, Texas, on 17 June 1970 following a post-tanking collision with a KC-135Q (59-1474) tanker. Lt. Col. Buddy L. Brown and his RSO Maj. Mortimer J. Jarvis ejected safely although the pilot broke both legs. The KC-135 returned to Beale AFB, California, with a damaged refueling boom and aft fuselage.

SR-71A (61-7974 / 2025) - Crashed on 21 April 1989 over the South China Sea when the left engine blew up and shrapnel hit the right-side hydraulic lines, causing a loss of flight control. Maj. Daniel E. House and Capt. Blair L. Bozek ejected safely.

posted on Nov, 14 2007 @ 12:10 PM
Nice response there. I had no idea. And great information. If you don't mind, I'd like to send that back to my friend and see what they say... I'm guessing something along the lines of "oops".

posted on Jul, 1 2008 @ 09:34 PM
Someone in Belgium is purchasing a photograph of mine showing the SR-71's jet engine's nose spike and cowl and turned me on to this site. His dad piloted the SR-71 and is buying the print becaue of that. I'd like readers of this blog to see the image - it's a pretty unique abstract point of view shot while the Blackbird was on display on the aircraft carrier Intrepid in New York City.
My 6 year old and 10 year old sons are Blackbird happy and love the high altitude image at the beginning of this blog - is it illustration or a photograph? Great technical info on this site, thanks - I'm glad to register.
Chip Forelli / Photographer


posted on Jul, 2 2008 @ 07:39 AM
Its an airbrush painting that you are referring to. It looks like one that may have been done by Dru Blair but I don't see it in his catalogue of work.

....AH found it. The painting was done by Stan Stokes. Here is a link to his work which his all first class stuff though I still recommend you also look into Blairs work.

posted on Jul, 2 2008 @ 07:53 AM
There is an SR-71 at Duxford air museum in Cambridgeshire, England. Well worth a look as you are able to get up really close and actually walk underneath the fuselage. It is an awesome aircraft. They have an engine out of the fuselage mount so that you can get a really good look - you can even sneak a feel of the skin - weird!

Duxford... a fantastic museum and well worth a visit.


[edit on 2-7-2008 by SugarCube]

posted on Jul, 2 2008 @ 01:25 PM
I got to see one at the Southern Museum of Flight one year. It broke my heart to see her in such a state.... corrosion was taking over, the skin was bleached and peeling away from the frame.

The Aircraft lover in me wanted to immediately get to work restoring her, to give her the attention she so desperately needed.

Though, it's really not fair to say it was at the Southern Museum of Flight - it was off the premises at a nearby airfield (which seemed to be Aircraft Purgatory - not quite the bone-yard, not quite a museum).

If I could, I would love to restore aircraft for a living - preferably to air-worthy condition, but I would settle for museum quality. It's just that the air-worthy ones would be nearly impossible to maintain on any realistic budget.

top topics


log in