Great Interview about the SR-71 Blackbird from a former pilot

09 Mar 2014 admin In G+ Posts

Here are a couple quotes:

SH: Oh my god.

RM: It is an amazing machine. You start to climb up through Mach 1, and it's a big punch with a lot of air resistance. What we'd typically do is climb up, put the nose down just before Mach 1, and then lift back up and punch through it all the way to Mach 3.

SH: And this whole time, the pilot just wasn't on the gas and stick: you were actually changing the shape of the engine itself in order to get more thrust out of the engine.


RM: That's right. Because the faster you went, the more ram thrust you got, which burns less fuel. So you did have to go faster to burn less fuel. Like I said, you had to unlearn everything you knew about other aircraft.

Tribute Video:

Hands down the coolest plane I have ever seen fly at an airshow….and my all time favorite plane…


Comments: 20

  1. Pamela Reynoso 9 Mar 2014 Reply

    I have always loved the SR-71. 🙂

  2. Dmitry Petin 9 Mar 2014 Reply

    Does not matter what for this bird had been made. But the result does matter. Not many iconic planes have been made. This one – defenitelly one of them.

  3. Brent Burzycki 9 Mar 2014 Reply

    I agree this was and really still is a great example of what humans can make when needed…. Just wish we did this more often these days… It feels like cutting edge is dead or at least cutting is is now much harder to do or we have become less innovative..

  4. Jim Tipping 9 Mar 2014 Reply

    They actually flew these at airshows, +Brent Burzycki?

  5. Scot Meek 9 Mar 2014 Reply

    And to think this awesome machine was designed,and fabricated in the late '50's and early '60's with nothing more than cheap calculator's (by today's standards) and slide rules… Computer aids were still a good 10-15 years in the future…

  6. nunya bznss 9 Mar 2014 Reply

    +Scot M. Kinda make you wonder what else they built……… HMMmmmm

  7. Cody Oshel 9 Mar 2014 Reply

    Scot m., slide rules can do just as much and more than a digital calculator, and faster if you know how to use it.

  8. Brent Burzycki 9 Mar 2014 Reply

    +Jim Tipping once… I used to go to every air show I could here in California… Many years ago when they were still flying one did a fly by at the Macellan AFB show… Came in.. Turned around and then a afterburner pass… It was quite the site… This is because Beale AFB is right up the road and they were all based there… I assume.. Once in a lifetime deal for me as I never have seen one except static display since..

  9. Kenneth Snyder 9 Mar 2014 Reply

    I've had hair on back of my head stand up from F18 afterburner pass. I can only imagine the thrill of close pass by a SR-71 in beast mode. Gotta love baddass machines flown by baddass people.

  10. Anupam Vivek 9 Mar 2014 Reply

    Looks so cool

  11. A icon!

  12. Olav Folland 9 Mar 2014 Reply

    +nunya bznss I can almost guarantee that the Air Force wouldn't retire something without a replacement. One could make an argument that they have something finished, or nearly finished before they let their official 'top tech' go public (i.e., replacements for the B-2 and F-117).

    Then you have to look at specsmanship.

    Take for a couple of examples I'm aware of:

    The USS Enterprise had a rated speed of about 35 knots. However, my dad was on the boat when they booked it across the Indian Ocean to the PI. Total transit time: ~3 days. Unofficial speed: 70 knots. They had to lash everything they couldn't get into the hangar bay down to the flight deck so it wouldn't get blown off. My dad describes it as the boat was 'skipping across the waves'.

    But airplanes to airplanes – the RA-5x Vigilantes were initially designed as a carrier-launched bomber, but actually served as a reconnaissance aircraft. It was a fairly heavy plane due to the carrier requirements, and had two big-ass engines to compensate for it. First flight was 1957 and it's listed top speed: Mach 2. Unofficial speeds: Mach3+ in a dive. (my dad worked on the avionics systems)

    SR-22's first flight was seven years later (1964) and despite all it's novel materials and construction methods, as well as not requiring the reinforced undercarriage, has a listed speed of Mach 3.3.

    I don't believe a word of it.

    On a side note, there was a plastic model manufacturer in the '80s and '90s that had an uncanny knack for having fairly precise models of aircraft that didn't exist – F-117, B-2, F-20, and the current 'doesn't exist' Aurora, which is the purported replacement to the SR-22 – though I can't find the manufacturer's name so I may be hallucinating that part.

  13. Brent Burzycki 9 Mar 2014 Reply

    It's ok +Olav Folland I had a friend at a boy scout deal in Hawaii… He was a huge aviation nut… Recognized the patch on the pilot in front of him in line at the mess hall on base… He said "must be nice flying at Mach 3" and got an answer back without the guy turning around… "no its more like Mach 5+" then he turned around and figured it out that it was a teenage boy scout that asked the question…. "you never heard that"

    I have no issues with keeping info top secret from the general public… Most could not handle it… I on the other hand would like to know about all of it..

  14. Olav Folland 9 Mar 2014 Reply

    I don't doubt it. "double" is generally what I've been told without people violating their security clearances.

  15. Olav Folland 9 Mar 2014 Reply

    And yeah, for me it's just more technology in a lot of ways, but I eat it up too 🙂

  16. Paul Kuehn 9 Mar 2014 Reply

    Awesome, Brent! Thanks for sharing. The SR-71 has been my favorite plane since forever. I just wish I could have had a chance to see (and hear) one in flight.

  17. Shirley Wells 9 Mar 2014 Reply


  18. Rob Bixby 9 Mar 2014 Reply

    I used to watch them in Okinawa. Always amazing watch an aircraft that large scream into the sky.

  19. Clayton Haapala 10 Mar 2014 Reply

    The SR-71 at the Minneapolis museum is awesome — even stationary.

  20. nunya bznss 10 Mar 2014 Reply

    +Olav Folland I am 10 year USN. USS Lexington, USS Nimitz, VAW 124, HC16. A US Navy aircraft carrier is the fastest ship on the sea. There are no speed reporting devises aboard (that most can see) that will register above 30 Knots. If you go faster than 30 the dial or digital read out reads 30+. I too have come up with some amazing dead reckoning figures. The Viggy was out by the time I got in but we had A3, S3, E2C, A6, A4, F14, F18, An F14 super sonic low level flyby at sea. That's something I will never forget.
    We made a high speed run on the Nimitz in the 80's when she was a Med Cruise ship. I am not supposed to say how fast so I wont. I will say I would not have believed it had I not seen it myself.

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