The fastest plane in the world

For the first time in the sky plane SR-71 or the «Blackbird» has risen in the end of 1964. Designed as fighter aircraft became an elusive spy.

Heavenly thunder

So, in the yard 60 years of the 20th century. The administration of the city are angry residents of the American metropolis. Their peace is disturbed rumbling in the clear cloudless sky. He abruptly arises and also rapidly fades.

Only when the stream of complaints reached a peak point, and it seemed that here-here will start riots, BBC America made an official statement in which he said, the cause of the strange roar are flying Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, supersonic strategic reconnaissance.


After the statement, the most active of American citizens have addressed with claims in court. In their appeals the people demanded compensation for damage caused by the flight of the fastest aircraft in the world.

At the end of court sessions, the military had no choice — they had paid thirty-five thousand dollars.

The history of creation

Before the advent of «Blackbird», the fastest aircraft in the world was A-12. He developed a speed of over 3 thousand km/h and went up by 28.5 km and the aircraft was to be the scout over territory of the USSR and Cuba — plans collapsed along with the Soviet anti-aircraft guns shot down the spy plane. Management chose not to lose such expensive equipment and to scout out the territory of the Union and Cuba sent satellites, and the aircraft flew to explore in Asia.


Clarence «Kelly» Johnson, chief designer of the A-12, this alignment was not approved and tried to persuade U.S. air force to build aircraft, which was destined to become inaccessible and to embody intelligence functions and the ability to deal with problems of the bomber.

Before the air force was able to appreciate the advantages of the new aircraft, it has been four years. However, Johnson didn’t waste any time and by the time he was given the green light, he worked on the project for more than a year. When the reduced copies were ready, the designer suffered layouts to the command.


General Li Mei, saw the samples, came in indignation. The General has decided that RS-12 is the exact copy of the bomber XB-70. Yes, they had common features such as:

  • maximum speed both exceed the speed of sound three times
  • both models could refuel in the air
  • both of them were planned as a reconnaissance bomber

This is where the similarity ends. The length of the «Blackbird» from 32.74 meters, Valkyrie of 56.6 m; wingspan of 16.94% and 32 m, respectively. In addition, the speed of the RS-12 to 100 km/h was higher than that of the XB-70. In General, the scandal was of such strength that without the intervention of Robert McNamara, former defense Minister, has not done.

Not to see the world, «Blackbird», if not for the insistence of Johnson, continued work on the project no matter what.

Interesting fact: the name of RS-12 was changed to SR -71 accidentally – then US President misspoke and instead of RS, told SR. Remained, and the number 71 means the model after Valkyrie he had in the name figure 70.

In heaven

The speed with which the SR -71 cut through air spaces, contributed to the fact that light and stable titanium plating by friction of the air heated in excess of three hundred degrees. Johnson with this problem helped to understand the dark blue paint on ferrite basis, it not only dissipates heat, which came to the surface, but also reduced the chance that the aircraft will be visible in the dark night sky. In General, the stealth aircraft was fitted with the flat fuselage and inclined fins. The fuel mixture was added cesium that have managed to achieve that the temperature of the exhaust gases fell substantially.

the suit

To the pilots at altitude kept the ability to breathe normally, has developed special spacesuits. They are designed so that the Breasts and body is uniformly compressed, and the pilot has the ability to breathe at low pressure atmospheres.

In 1966 the first crashed the fastest plane in the world. Scout flying at a height of more than 24 million meters, has not coped with management, has denied the system air intake. The pilot and the mate managed to eject, but survived only a pilot.

Later there were several disasters associated with the aircraft. The failure was caused by: failure of the generator, a fire engine and the fuel tank. As time has shown, every third plane of a failure or accident, or due to a technical fault. Repair of each item of such equipment has resulted USAF a lot of money. It is known that the content of one of the squadron «blackbirds» was equal to twenty eight million dollars.

There were many losses, but during testing failed to identify and address all major shortcomings. For the SR-71 began military service.

On the job


Any departure is on the pattern. On the runway, with a length of 1 km 300 meters at speeds up to 400 km/h, the fastest plane in the world off the ground. Less than three minutes from takeoff at a height of 7.5 km, the aircraft is flying at the speed of 680 km/h. When the speed of the SR-71 will increase to 0.9 Mach, flies aerial refueling tankers. As soon as the aircraft tanks are filled, the pilot switches to auto-pilot. Thanks to the autopilot fails to recruit and retain a constant speed of 890 km/h. When aircraft are at an altitude of 24 km and reaches a speed of 3 max, the pilots will take control of the aircraft in their hands.

Two years before the onset of the second Millennium, the SR-71 was retired. In just 32 years of service, was established 32 aircraft, 12 of which are out of order. In total, the aircraft flew 80 thousand hours. «Blackbirds» was widely used when it was necessary to take photographs or obtain a radar aerial. How many «Blackbird» flew hours and much information collected over the territory of the Union no one knows except the CIA, of course.

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