I'd assume the Blackbird's engine that converted into a ramjet once at supersonic speed had no moving parts at ramjet phase. If the engines were off, how then did it pressurize the cockpit at cruise altitude to ensure pilot safety and that he/she did not pass out from lack of oxygen?


1 Answer 1


The SR-71 used the P&W J58, which is full of moving parts, and works very similar to a typical jet engine. Your assumption that it has no moving parts is wrong. While the engine RPM did slow down at maximum speed (up to 90%), it never stopped, and always generated enough power for electrical systems, pressurization, hydraulics and any other needs.

While the cockpit was pressurized (but sometimes only to 26,000 ft. pressure-altitude), the two-man flight crew wore full body flight suits for warmth and oxygen.

  • $\begingroup$ does a ramjet have moving parts? $\endgroup$ May 18, 2018 at 14:28
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    $\begingroup$ The J58 (as modified for the SR-71) is only a partial ramjet. The core slowed, but never stopped. $\endgroup$
    – abelenky
    May 18, 2018 at 14:29
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    $\begingroup$ @securitydude5 A pure ramjet has no moving parts, but the J58 was a hybrid engine that had a normal turbine core and bypass ducts around it. $\endgroup$
    – zeta-band
    May 18, 2018 at 15:27
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    $\begingroup$ At no time was the J58 a pure ramjet. Above Mach 2, air is diverted around the burners & turbine directly from compressor stage 9 outlet to the afterburner inlet. dtstapp.blogspot.com/2014/12/… $\endgroup$
    – ioctlLR
    May 18, 2018 at 15:54
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    $\begingroup$ @securitydude5 does a ramjet have moving parts? is a separate question, and one which can be easily answered by reading the wiki article on ramjets. $\endgroup$
    – 0xdd
    May 18, 2018 at 20:06

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