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Blackbird   -   2002/04/30Viewed 201 times this month, last update: 2004/05/28

April 27, 2002, Michael Kindig, his nephew, and I went to the Palmdale SR-71 Blackbird air park for the Blackbird's 40th aniversary. It was cool, they had two blackbirds, an AR-12, and an SR-71. They also had on display one of the prototype blackbird drone planes and one of the Blackbird engines out on display. I sat in the pilot position of the AR-12, and both the tactical and pilot positions on the SR-71.
It was really neat to see these planes on display. The blackbird has been my favorite aircraft since I first saw pictures of them.
Here are all the pictures
My baby, the SR-71 Blackbird spy plane
From the nose of the AR-12. Thanks to Michael Kindig for the pic.
The mighty J-58 engine, developed by pratt and whitney. Some things of note: It does have an afterburner, but it's really only used for takeoff. When it's running supersonic, it mostly functions as a ramjet, simply feeding fuel into the hot, presurized air flowing through it. Also, the cone on the front of the engine when mounted to an SR-71 moves in and out to focus the shockwave of the incomming air to maximize power in ramjet mode.
From the front.
From the top, just a beautiful sight.
Ramond, Mike's nephew, Mike and Me in the AR-12.
Me and Mike in the camera operator's position in the SR-71.
Mike and I in the pilot's position in the SR-71.
There was also a U-2 spy plane here, nifty to see.
Thanks to Michael Kindig for the noted pictures, and all the pictures of people sitting in the planes. Check out all his great pictures in the mkindig directory of the 'all pictures' link above.

Steve Kehlet (2003-04-25): Wow! That is so cool. I too have always thought the SR-71 was the coolest looking plane. That is pretty amazing that you actually got to climb into the cockpit.

Kindigulous (2003-09-15): Steve, I think the only thing I missed was where they discharge your biologics (hee hee). I imagine flying at Mach 3+ would be a pretty "moving" experience!

Abigail (2004-01-13): Nice site:) Very interesting plane!

Wakka (2004-05-28): Thats a fucking big engine dude!

Erik (2004-05-28): It's enormous. Easily five or six feet in diameter.

anonymous (2006-01-18): the day it happened ...It was a sundrenched day over Mojave ...June 1966...
Pilot Joe cotton approached the white beast as it shone in the hazy sunshine....
This was to be the day of reckoning ...the mighty Valkyrie was about to take off.
Joe entered the cockpit and was going thru his final checklist of preflight checks.
Augmentation of the engine bearing - check ,,,,...flaps - check,.. fuel check ...
checks complete ....high altitude here we come
with full afterburner the mighty jet climbed up into the stratosphere

paul boterman (2006-04-02): sr-71 is the fastest plane ever and id be proud to fly it somday . Anyone who can fly one is a lucky basdard

Greg (2006-04-26): In the early 60's, I gave an SR-71 model airplane kit to a elementary classmate for his birthday present. Stationed in Germany 1978 to 1981 Rhien Main Air Base /Frankfurt Int., was one of a few runways around the world in case a SR-71 needed to do a emergency landing. Orders were to get the crew out and let the cock pit burn. Guess back then highly secretive equipment on board. SR -71 all done by slide rule, those guys were geniuses. It still commands my attention, regardless of it's whereabouts, flying, static display, etc,. Nice pics, nice website.

rob (2006-12-12): top speed mach 6.25 @ 125,000 feet

Erik (2006-12-17): Rob: Nope. Record speed is 2,193.1669 mph at 85,068.997. Declassified max is 3.0+. See: Wikipedia.

Rob (2007-03-08): research all avalible info on ramjets and find that there are several which have exceeded mach 5 and 100,000 feet, the blackbird family and its turboramjets are in the
same class.


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