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Questions tagged [sr-71]

The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird was a US Air Force supersonic reconnaissance aircraft.

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12 votes
4 answers
4k views

What is a ramjet?

What is a ramjet? Was it used on the SR-71 Blackbird?
Madhav Sudarshan's user avatar
22 votes
3 answers
5k views

How do fast-flying aircraft avoid overheating?

As a follow-up question to What is the typical temperature of an airliner's hull during flight? I wonder how very fast airplanes, such as the SR-71 mentioned, avoid overheating with a total air ...
Filip Haglund's user avatar
116 votes
13 answers
43k views

Why does it take so long to develop modern military jets?

In the 1960's, it took three years to produce a flying prototype of an aircraft that flew faster than anything before, was built out of a novel construction material, used a new type of fuel, and was ...
Koyovis's user avatar
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15 votes
3 answers
7k views

What are the limiting factors for high altitude planes (e.g: U2 or SR71) preventing them from going higher?

I'm curious as to why planes like the U2 Dragon Lady and the SR71 Blackbird couldn't fly higher. What physical constraint set their operational ceiling? Pilots wore spacesuits, so that wasn't the ...
Nelson's user avatar
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42 votes
3 answers
21k views

How did SR-71 spy, flying at 80,000 ft and 3500 km/h?

The SR-71 Blackbird is a famous supersonic reconnaissance/spy aircraft, undoubtedly one of the most amazing flying machines ever. Now, with the capabilities it had: Maximum speed: Mach 3.3 (2,200+ ...
anshabhi's user avatar
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12 votes
3 answers
13k views

Why does the J58 engine of the SR-71 have a diffuser after the inlet spike?

I heard that the diffuser allows the compressed air after the inlet spike to "spread out". What does this mean? If this means expansion, wouldn't it be beneficial to have it compressed before entering ...
eli's user avatar
  • 365
30 votes
5 answers
10k views

Why was the production of the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird halted?

Why was production of Lockheed's SR-71 Blackbird halted, given that it was an advanced supersonic jet that was ahead of its time?
titan's user avatar
  • 402
23 votes
3 answers
7k views

Could the SR-71 Blackbird be used for nearspace tourism?

The Blackbird had two seats onboard. Could it be reactivated for nearspace tourism, placing a paying tourist in the other seat? If no, why not or why isn't it being proposed? In leveled flight, the ...
Giovanni's user avatar
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30 votes
7 answers
24k views

Could a SR-71 be shot down today?

I've read that the SR-71 had no missile defenses because it could simply outrun any adversary. Is this still true? Or is it unlikely that the SR-71 could operate unimpeded in the face of modern ...
rookie's user avatar
  • 403
22 votes
4 answers
9k views

Why was the SR-71 made of titanium?

The temperature of the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird's fuselage never exceeded 500 Celsius, which, to my knowledge, would be perfectly tolerated by stainless steel. So, why titanium?
Miki's user avatar
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22 votes
4 answers
21k views

What is the minimum turning radius of an SR-71?

What is the minimum turning radius of an SR-71 at Mach 3.2 and an altitude of 80,000 feet? I have heard that if an SR-71 were to cross the Pacific coast over San Francisco and pull a hard turn to ...
Mark's user avatar
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13 votes
3 answers
16k views

Why was the U-2 so different from the SR-71?

Both were designed for the same goals: taking photographs at high altitude, avoiding radar. Both were designed by the same company with a few years apart. Yet one is a "jet glider", with large ...
Southbob's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
5k views

How long did the SR-71 take to get to cruising altitude?

How long did it take for the SR-71 to go from taking off to 80,000 ft, including refueling?
Bob516's user avatar
  • 407
10 votes
3 answers
41k views

What is the true top speed of the SR-71?

By "true" top speed I mean the absolute fastest horizontal airspeed the aircraft can achieve if damage to the engines is disregarded (similar to how the MiG-25 apparently can reach mach 3.2 but may ...
AlphaCentauri's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
999 views

If maximum speed was a priority for modern military fighter jets and bombers, approximately how fast would they likely be?

Burt Rutan talks rather passionately about the lack of innovation in space flight, but also mentions how fighter jet (maximum) speed performance has stalled: In fact,...
AlphaCentauri's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
7k views

What advantages would a triangular shaped spy plane have over a an SR-71?

This is a picture of the supposed SR-72 Aurora. What kind of advantages would this have over the SR-71, in terms of its triangle design? Paper airplanes have the same shape, and fly really well. The ...
Ethan's user avatar
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