So you’re really into aircrafts. How much do you really know? Let’s talk about a classic; one of America’s favorite aircrafts to have ever come into existence: The SR-71 Blackbird.
The SR-71 Blackbird was developed in a series of planes developed to gain strategic advantages over enemy territory during the Cold War. The SR-71 flew at incredibly fast speeds - over Mach 3.2 at 85,000 feet. At this speed and height, the craft could fly over enemy territory to locate people in places of interest or to map out potential battleground turf without risking a takedown by the enemy.
As you can imagine, the SR-71 was one of the most spectacular aircrafts ever built. To this day, a more impressive reconnaissance craft has yet to be built.
The U.S. Air Force and CIA initially decided to replace the U-2 (the time’s current craft for enemy surveillance) with a faster aircraft that could evade enemy attacks. The building of the SR-71 lived under a project called Archangel and the Skunk Works.
The project produced its first craft, the A-2, in 1960. Not long after, Francis Gary Powers was shot down flying over the Soviet Union. He was piloting a U-2, an aircraft not built to par for flying over enemy territory. The tragedy led the U.S. and Soviet Union agreeing not fly over each other's territories looking to gain advantages.
However, improvements to the A-2 continued to be made and one was tested by a pilot. There were a few glitches and as the problems got sorted, the treaty about not flying over the Soviet Union came into effect. The U.S. would have to adjust the aircraft - or build a new one entirely - to avoid flying in enemy airspace.
Welcome the turbojet engine, the J58, to the scene. The J58 propelled the plane beyond fathomable speed and altitudes and would eventually replace the A-2 as the SR-71. Cameras quickly photographed regions from great heights and the craft could safely launch from and back to the United States.
The SR-71 swiftly won the popularity and favorability by the U.S. It was a mightily useful and impressive, and its match has yet to be made.
Here are some nicknames donned by the SR-71:
- Lady in Black
Check out Impact Posters Gallery to find the perfect SR 71 Blackbird poster!