Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Some of you may know that I work with the Air Force and get to see the newest military aircraft do their thing pretty much every day. Personally, I think airplanes are pretty awesome, and to me, fighter jets qualify as manly enough for a testosterone laden blog such as this, so here is my little ode to the SR-71.

Basically the SR-71 was a super high flying, super fast flying spy plane. It was developed by Lockheed Martin's revered Skunk Works under the closest security. It could reach speeds of Mach 3.2+ (2200 mph+), and could fly at a sustained altitude of over 85,000 feet (16 miles). Because the conditions in which the aircraft flew were so extreme, the pilots basically had to wear space suits in order to survive.

To give you an idea of the conditions this plane flew in let me give you some info. The temperature of the canopy after landing was over 550 degrees Fahrenheit, which was too hot for maintenance personnel to approach right after landing. The forces on the plane in flight are so extreme that if the aircraft were to lose control (as happened on one occasion) the plane would literally disintegrate leaving nothing but the pilot and a few remaining pieces of the fuselage hurling through space. FYI the pilot did miraculously survive this experience - a very manly story in itself that I will have to share at another time. The forces this plane generates are also extreme. When flying at supersonic speeds, planes generate a shock wave known as a sonic boom. The sonic boom from the SR-71 flying at top speed is enough to seriously damage the structure of your house (not to mention shattering all your windows in the process).

To this day, the SR-71 is the fastest and highest flying manned aircraft ever built. So needless to say, this plane is pretty amazing. Sadly this aircraft is retired, and we don't get to see it fly any more, but we do have one on display at the museum at my work, so we can still bask in its glory.


  1. Daniel, you speak my language brother! Suffice it to say, I am uber jealous that you hang out with fighter jets all day. And the SR-71... man, that is one manly airplane! The thing is built to expand under the high heat it produces... so much so that it would leak fuel while still on the ground! Crazy huh?!

  2. I still chuckle about how it died over SLC in test phases and reignited its engines right over temple square. I can only image what the prophet was thinking.

  3. I think it looks like the X-Men Blackbird. Very cool.