Any old jerk can wear a fancy ring, but how many people can say their bling was made from materials that once flew at mach 3.2+ on the famed Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird spy plane? Now that’s some provenance.
Built and designed in the 1960s after the A-12 Oxcart, the SR-71 Blackbird is still the fastest, most vanguardist air-breathing airplane in the history of aviation. These once classified photos reveal how Lockheed built both birds in secret, in California. They look taken at the Rebel base in Hoth.
No other plane in history has captured the hearts and minds of the American public quite like the SR-71 Blackbird, providing the West with an unprecedented look behind the Iron Curtain during its 33 year operational career. But before it was cracking the skies over Russia at mach 3.3, the Cold War spy plane had to…
On December 17, 1903, the Wright brothers flew the first airplane ever at 6.8 mph (10.9 km/h). Only 61 years and five days later, the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird took off. It's still the world's fastest airplane with a speed of 2,193 mph (3,530 km/h.) This fascinating video explains its top secret engine technology.
The SR-71 Blackbird is, without a doubt, the most advanced airplane ever built in relation to the technology available at the time. It broke all aviation records, it flew incredible missions, and it became the stuff of legend. Lockheed Martin published its history in this collection of high resolution scans of old…
I still get the chills when I re-read Brian Shul's account of his Blackbird flight against enemy SAM batteries over Libya. Imagine yourself inside that tight SR-71 cockpit with all the alarms sounding. This cool 360-degree virtual reality view will help.
Not long ago Lockheed Martin posted on its Instagram account the most badass aviation photograph ever. Just look at it:
It's a place steeped in mythology, where the most astonishing machines on Earth were tested — an area so secret that the government didn't officially acknowledge its existence until 2013. Now, Bill Yenne's book Area 51 Black Jets lifts the veil on top secret projects from the 1950s to today.
This incredible photo of a SR-71 Blackbird being refueled in mid-air was taken by Sgt. P.A. Tubridy in 1988. It was the symbol of the United States' military power. It was the symbol of the country's incredible technological prowess. Now, it represents the future that we used to dream of—and make. A future that feels…
Aviation Week's Guy Norris has an exclusive article on the successor for the Lockheed Martin SR-71 Blackbird, the legendary spy plane that may be the favorite of every airplane nerd in the world. The hypersonic SR-72 is the first aircraft that can fit perfectly in Star Wars or Galactica, a true space age ship.
At the height of the Cold War, if you wanted a peek behind the Iron Curtain, it had to be a birds's eye view from 63,000 feet—above the reach of Soviet SAM batteries. And to fly that high, America's elite SR-71 pilots had to wear the most advanced flight suits this side of the Apollo program.
The SR-71 Blackbird remains an icon of American aerospace engineering to this day. Its speed and operating ceiling are unrivaled. However, it did not simply spring forth fully-formed from the head of "Kelly" Johnson—it spent years in development as the A-12 Oxcart being flown by an elite group of Air Force pilots.…
Gary Power's failed sortie over Soviet Russia in 1960 prompted military brass to search for unmanned alternatives for performing recon over hostile territory. The D-21 drone was Lockheed's solution—launched from a modified A-12, it spied on Red China at over 2,000 MPH.
So, you read Brian Shul's description of the thrill to fly the SR-71 Blackbird in a real mission over Lybia, and now you want to try it yourself. Well, no problem! First, you need its top secret flying manual.