January 05, 2009

World's fastest airplane - Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird:

Speed - 100,000 square miles (260,000 km2) per hour

The Lockheed SR-71 was an advanced, long-range, Mach 3 strategic reconnaissance aircraft developed from the Lockheed A-12 and YF-12A aircraft by the Lockheed Skunk Works. The SR-71 was unofficially named the Blackbird, and called the Habu by its crews. Clarence "Kelly" Johnson was responsible for many of the design's innovative concepts. A defensive feature of the aircraft was its high speed and operating altitude, whereby, if a surface-to-air missile launch were detected, standard evasive action was simply to accelerate. The SR-71 line was in service from 1964 to 1998, with 12 of the 32 aircraft being destroyed in accidents, though none were lost to enemy action.

Details of World's fastest airplane - Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird:

Role Strategic Reconnaissance
Manufacturer Lockheed Skunk Works
Designed by Clarence "Kelly" Johnson
First flight 22 December 1964
Introduced 1966
Retired 1998
Primary users United States Air Force
Number built 32
Developed from Lockheed A-12

Records of World's fastest airplane - Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird:

The SR-71 remained the world's fastest and highest-flying operational manned aircraft throughout its career. From an altitude of 80,000 ft (24 km), it could survey 100,000 square miles (260,000 km2) per hour (72 square kilometers per second) of the Earth's surface. In addition, it was accurate enough to take a picture of a car's license plate from this altitude. On 28 July 1976, an SR-71 broke the world record for its class: an absolute speed record of 1905.81 knots (2,193.17 mph, 3,529.56 km/h), and an "absolute altitude record" of 85,069 feet (25,929 m). Several aircraft exceeded this altitude in zoom climbs but not in sustained flight.[28]

When the SR-71 was retired in 1990, one was flown from its birthplace at United States Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, to go on exhibit at what is now the Smithsonian Institution's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (an annex of the National Air & Space Museum) in Chantilly, Virginia. The Blackbird, piloted by Colonel Ed Yeilding and Lt. Col. J. T. Vida, set a coast-to-coast speed record at an average 2,124 mph (3,418 km/h). The entire trip was reported as 68 minutes and 17 seconds. Three additional records were set within segments of the flight, including a new absolute top speed of 2,242 mph (3,608 km/h) measured between the radar gates set up in St. Louis and Cincinnati. These were accepted by the National Aeronautic Association (NAA), the recognized body for aviation records in the United States. An enthusiast site devoted to the Blackbird lists a record time of 64 minutes. The SR-71 also holds the record for flying from New York to London in 1 hour 54 minutes and 56.4 seconds, set on 1 September 1974. This equates to an average velocity of about Mach 2.68, including deceleration for in-flight refueling. Peak speeds during this flight were probably closer to the declassified top speed of Mach 3.2+. (For comparison, the best commercial Concorde flight time was 2 hours 52 minutes, and the Boeing 747 averages 6 hours 15 minutes.)

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