Airborne Awesomosity

Blackbird Pron

The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. Nevada mountains sold separately.

I’ve spent most of the morning emailing back and forth between suppliers trying to coordinate details and approving valve performance tests. Emailing. I have done in 4 hours what would have taken days not that long ago. Yet, I look at aircraft like the SR-71 which, from contract award to first prototype, took just under 2 years and I wonder…have we really advanced?

Now that your brain is working, let’s get the rest of your body working after the jump.

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This never gets old.

[Image Credit: NASA]

  • The Professor

    Great stuff engineered! It never gets old for me either.
    In the first video at about the halfway point, you can really hear the Buick engines winding out on the start cart when they fire up the J-58s. That's the first time that I've heard the start cart engines, I believe.

  • Will Campbell

    Wow, I've never seen either one of those videos before. Nice. Too bad they weren't full length. Yes, in the first video, it sounds like a drag race going on. The second video had some false info, but still pretty cool.

  • CaptianNemo2001

    Ahhh Blackbird Porn…

  • Previously I had thought that heating titanium up above 800 degrees F would make it alloy with anything handy and not come back down to temperature the same way it went up. AT has once again led me on an investigation that improved my knowledge. How does the SR-71 get away with 1000 F and not come down as a ball of "hot dog char"?

    Apparently, titanium operates a bit like some stainless steels, where when damaged the oxide that forms becomes like a scab, and protects the substrate and its beloved mechanical properties. (As outlined here

    Now I'm a little confused on another point. I had thought that titanium was voluminous yet microscopically distributed around the planet precisely because it whored itself out to whatever molecule came along at fairly low temperatures, and thus got disseminated in a manner quite opposite the way gold aggregates in low places. Now I find out it sort of insulates itself?

    Then again, I was never good a chemistry. I do have to torture metals a lot, though.

    • B72

      I used to work at a place that made titanium afterburner liners. They had corrugations in them, with holes in the downstream side. The hot gasses passing through would draw cold air through these holes and create boundary layer of cooler air.

      One day as a demonstration, an afterburner liner was brought back in from the field. About in the middle, there was a cooling hole that was plugged with a chip of metal. Downstream from this, the afterburner liner was just plain gone. A triangle of missing material where material should be, with little melted drip balls along the edges.

      I realize the SR 71 engines are different technology, but it’s possible they borrowed from this book. It’s one way they could be sustaining combustion temperatures above the melting point of the titanium they used.

      -Sent from my iPhone despite the fact that IntenseDebate still doesn’t work.

  • Will Campbell

    The Titanium that was used in the Blackbirds (A12, YF12 and SR-71) is Beta Ti13V11CR3Al. Some of its properties are shown in this pic.
    Obviously it dissipates heat rather well. This site has some really cool stuff, I wish I had the $ to buy one of each…

  • CaptianNemo2001

    You guys also forget that the JP-7 was used not just for fuel but to cool the engine AND the plane and run hydraulics.