Airborne Awesomosity

SR-71 Cockpit Checkout

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

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

We haven’t had a gratuitous SR-71 post in a while. Time to rectify that.

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  • cruisintime

    On the tarmac preparing to soar , the wing tanks would drip fuel. It was the heat of flight that tightened the seals.

    • FЯeeMan

      I heard that there was a colonel at an airbase that used a tin of fuel as an ashtray. They had small tanks of standard Jet A for low altitude flight, and some sort of jelly-like substance that was used at high altitude – it was basically inflammable at ground level.

      /spreads rumor from high school teacher *cough* years ago, instead of fact checking and without having watched the video which might actually say…

  • B72

    What's with the 2 cockpits and the wings looking like they are made out of fabric?

    • Believe it or not the second cockpit is for the flight instructor, the airplane pictured is used for training SR-71 pilots. The ripples on the wings I think (I'm not positive) are actually fuel leaking out as the airframe is not up to temperature.
      EDIT: Yup, that's either fuel or fuel stains. The corrugated appearance running fore and aft is just that, corrugations. These allow the skin to expand predictably when the airframe heats up.

      I'm not sure if the trainers were ever used on missions, though. Or how many trainers there were.

      • FЯeeMan

        Yeah, and they came up with all those ideas basically without computers. Can you imagine how many decades it would take to spec, design, and digitally test this today before a single piece of metal was cut or carbon fabric laid down? Oh, and how many billllllions of dollars it would cost!

      • Will Campbell

        There were 4 trainers built, one A12, two SR-71Bs and one SR-71C. The A12 trainer was known as the Titanium Goose and can now be found in the middle Los Angles hanging out with the Space Shuttle. One of the B models was lost (957) early in the program, and was eventually replaced by the C model 981. The C model is an interesting creature in that the nose section was never intended to fly since it was a static mock up, and the rear section was from the third YF12. It was known to not fly straight for some reason requiring a touch of rudder trim. It also leaked more than the rest since the front bulkhead wasn't sealed since it wasn't meant to fly. It also had odd things since the front and rear sections were never meant to work together in the first place. That said, if the program were ever to be restarted, the nose section could be removed from 956 and attached to one of the airframes that didn't get the wingspars clipped and there would be a flyable trainer again.

        As far as the corrugations, yes they were designed to allow for expansion at flight temp. Yes that is fuel that you see on the wings.

  • alex

    Anybody have a copy of Sled Drivers that they want to sell at a reasonable price?