Friday, February 20, 2009

Supersonic Power

Status: AWAKE
Song: Chasing Shadows at Midnight - Pillar

The Blackbird

Those of you who have been following my various meanderings since I've started this blog know about my obsession with speed and really gorgeous vehicles. See [here] and [here] and [here]. However, the Porsche, and the Lamborghini, as fast and yummy as they are, can't compete with the power of the supersonic aircraft.

One of my favorites is the SR-71 Blackbird. Unlike the super cars, I think its safe to say I will never get the chance to sit in one of these machines, but I can drool.

The SR-71 Blackbird.

Long, stream lined, really sexy. Super fast.

A stealth craft.

You wouldn't hear this one overhead. Wouldn't be able to see it either because of its altitude.

It's retired now, but one defensive feature of the Blackbird was its high speed and high operating altitude. If a surface-to-air missile launch were detected, standard evasive action was simply to accelerate. Wow. Impressive.

The first time I saw one of these, it looked like this.

Short, flat, and looked almost as small as the other fighter planes around it.
18 and a half feet high.

It was in the Hill Aerospace Museum at the Hill Air Force Base south of Ogden, Utah. I had seen the plane on TV and expected the front view, but I was surprised at how small it looked. I knew the thing was 107 feet long. It should have looked BIG.

It's size became apparent as I walked around it. It was a lot longer than all of the other fighter planes in the hanger. It was gorgeous.

Even though the signs said not to touch it, I just had to. The Blackbird's skin is 85% titanium and 15% composite materials. I wanted to know what that felt like. So I picked a spot where the rope was close to the plane.

It felt like leather.

So, how fast is the SR-71 Blackbird? It's listed as being a Mach 3 aircraft, which means it can fly 3 times the speed of sound. But the speed of sound varies with temperature, so no single answer can be given to that question. Just know it's really fast.

Length: 107 ft 5 in (32.74 m)
Wingspan: 55 ft 7 in (16.94 m)
Height: 18 ft 6 in (5.64 m)

(None of these pictures are mine...So have to figure out that camera.)

1 comment:

Jaime Theler said...

It really was gorgeous. I've got some pics of it somewhere but the ones you have are probably (definitely) better.