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Surprising Facts You Didn’t Knew About Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird (Part 4)

Surprising Facts You Didn't Knew About Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird (Part 4)

It has been a while since our last list on the surprising fact you didn’t know about SR-71 Blackbird but you not need to worry anymore because we are back with some more. This time the facts are about the high-speed capabilities of the Sr-71 Blackbird and its effect on its various other features as well as its capabilities.

So without further ado, let us start our journey on the surprising facts you didn’t know about Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird (part 4).

Various Speeds of SR-71 Blackbird:-

SR-71 Blackbird

The SR-71 Blackbird as it has been famed for is for its surprising high speeds. The aircraft is able to reach the top speed of nearly Mach 3.3 which is a little over 2500 mph but it can sometimes even hit above that marl. As for the cursing speed of the Blackbird it was supposed to be about Mach 3.2 or in mph it was about 2450 mph but we all know how it shattered that to reach new heights.

On the historical days of July 26th and 27th, 1976, SR-71 Blackbird shattered the previous speed as well as altitude records to set new records. The horizontal altitude record for that time was about 85068.997 feet with a top speed over the straight course was recorded to be 2193.167 mph. According to some enthusiast of SR-71 Blackbird, the aircraft is able to go beyond the mark of Mach 3.3 and the altitude of 10000 feet but these numbers are still not known for sure.

Its camera comes with amazing range:-


One of the things that SR-71 Blackbird was known for was its superior surveillance capabilities carried out by its The Country’s Camera. This The Country’s Camera was able to survey an area of nearly 100000 square miles every hour of the Earth.


If you still do not think it is that much then consider this, the Colorado state is about 104000 square miles in area. The SR-71 Blackbird was given the mission time of 4 hours to survey the entire Southeast United States area. With help of its Optical Br Camera, an SR-71 Blackbird was able to survey following cities of the region within 4 hours.

  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Louisiana
  • Alabama
  • South Carolina
  • North Carolina
  • Maryland
  • Virginia
  • Tennessee
  • West Virginia

The engine oil froze at room temperature:-

engine oil froze

The oil that is used to lubricate the Pratt and Whitney J58 engines fitted inside the Blackbird is specially formulated and this oil tends to solidify at a room temperature of fewer than 68 degrees Fahrenheit. To make it in liquid form again, it took nearly an hour to warm it to the necessary 10 degrees more temperature.

This engine is an afterburner and single rotor turbojet engine that had a pressure ratio of 8:1 with a stage two turbine that allows it to produce a thrust of 32500 pounds.

Once the CIA flew a single seat version of the Blackbird named A-12, which was powered by not one but 2 of the J58s back in 1963. It was two years prior to the time when Pratt & Whitney started working on the single turbojet engine.

Total number of pilots who flew Blackbird:-


A total of 86 pilots have flown the SR-71 Blackbird for reconnaissance missions and it is needless to say but the pilots chose to fly the Blackbird were best of the best that Air Force had to offer. Due to the fact that the aircraft needed to be flown at high altitudes they had to go through the same level of training and examination that the NASA Astronaut Corps had to go through.


These pilots of Blackbird were also needed to wear special protective suits and helmets that were providing them with fresh and pure oxygen at the time of flight. In order for the pilots to bear the rigorous flight of the Blackbird and also to reduce the urgency to use the restroom at 80000 feet, these pilots were given a high protein meal of low residue, mostly being eggs and st4eaks, 3 hours prior to the flight for having energy.

Last flight with a new speed record:-

Last flight

The last flight was also the monumental one for the SR-71 Blackbird as it managed to set a speed record on that one as well. The aircraft was able to reach from Los Angeles to Washington DC in a time period of 64 minutes and 20 seconds. During the flight, the Blackbird was able to have an average speed of nearly 21254 mph and after making its landing in Washington DC, the aircraft was simply transported to Smithsonian Museum.

Smithsonian Museum

Without a doubt, the SR-71 Blackbird was a pinnacle of an aircraft when it came to advanced sensors and their use for crucial reconnaissance missions. Despite having a short operational life, the SR-71 is the aircraft that opened up the new path in the aviation engineering for supersonic and hypersonic technologies.

It was created by Skunk Works in a mere 20 months:-

Skunk Works

Aviation enthuses are not to be reminded that this aircraft was developed by the legendary aircraft designer Kelly Johnson who worked for the Lockheed Skunk Work division. Talking about the SR-71 Blackbird, he said these words, “Everything had to be invented, everything”. This aircraft was one of a kind idea when it came to aircraft but despite being an innovative idea, it only took 20 minutes to make this idea become a reality.


This aircraft is itself is a feat of proportions where everyone from pilots to maintainers to mission planners to photo processors had to work at near perfection. Due to the intelligence as well as the technology introduced to make it was sensitive, the aircraft had to built and used without a single error.

It’s not really Black:-


It is obvious that the Blackbird in the aircraft’s name is given to it because of the jet black color. However, what you don’t know that it was initially painted in Indigo Blue color that was mixed with iron ferrite balls of the microscopic level. These ferrite balls had the ability to dissipate the radar signals and the heat of the aircraft from the enemy’s radar.

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