SR-71 Blackbird

SR-71 Blackbird Here lives the "Bat out of Hell!"
(3)

Untouchable.
07/02/2019

Untouchable.

CIA #Museum Artifact of the Week: Untouchable

Under the highly secret Project OXCART, CIA developed the A‑12 as the U-2’s successor, intended to meet our nation’s need for a very fast, very high-flying reconnaissance aircraft that could avoid Soviet air defenses.

CIA awarded the OXCART contract to Lockheed (builder of the U-2) in 1959. In meeting the A‑12’s extreme speed and altitude requirements, Lockheed—led by legendary engineer Clarence “Kelly” Johnson—overcame numerous technical challenges with cutting-edge innovations in titanium fabrication, lubricants, jet engines, fuel, navigation, flight control, electronic countermeasures, radar stealthiness, and pilot life-support systems. In 1965, after hundreds of hours flown at high personal risk by an elite team of CIA and Lockheed pilots, the A‑12 was declared fully operational. It subsequently attained a sustained speed of Mach 3.29 (just over 2,200 miles per hour) at 90,000 feet altitude—to this day, an unbroken record for piloted jet aircraft.

CIA’s operational use of the A-12 faced not only many technical challenges but also political sensitivity to aircraft flights over denied areas and competition from imaging satellites. After the U-2 piloted by Francis Gary Powers was shot down over the Soviet Union in May 1960, all overflights of the USSR were halted, thus blocking the A‑12’s original mission to monitor the Soviet Bloc. By the time of CIA’s first A-12 deployment in 1967, CORONA satellites were being launched regularly to collect thousands of images worldwide each year. Although its imagery was less timely and of poorer resolution than the A-12’s, CORONA was invulnerable to anti-aircraft missiles and much less provocative than A-12 overflights. At the same time, the US Air Force was developing the SR‑71, a modified version of the A-12. Seeing little value in maintaining both overt SR-71 and covert A-12 fleets with similar capabilities, President Johnson ordered retirement of the A‑12 by 1968.

The only A-12 reconnaissance operation, codenamed BLACK SHIELD, took place from May 1967 to May 1968. A detachment of six pilots and three A-12s based at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa flew 29 missions over East Asia. The panoramic stereo camera aboard each aircraft yielded considerable high-quality imagery that within hours of landing was processed and under the eagle eyes of photointerpreters, who provided valuable intelligence in support of US military operations during the Vietnam War. Also, A-12 imagery of North Korea enabled them to locate the intelligence ship USS Pueblo illegally seized by North Korea and to confirm no further hostilities were imminent.

To commemorate this pioneering and unsurpassed aeronautical achievement, the painting depicts the first BLACK SHEILD reconnaissance flight on 31 May 1967 over North Vietnam. Piloted by Mele Vojvodich, Article 131 took off in a torrential downpour just before 1100 local Okinawa time. The A-12 had never operated in heavy rain before, but weather over the target area was forecast as satisfactory, so the flight went ahead. Vojvodich flew the planned route at 80,000 feet and Mach 3.1, refueled immediately after taking off and during each of two loops over Thailand, and safely touched down at Kadena with a total flight time of three hours and 39 minutes. The intelligence mission was a resounding success: after detailed examination of nearly a mile of film that was collected, photointerpreters found no surface-to-surface missiles that might threaten US and allied military forces in the South and assessed the status of 70 of the 190 known surface-to-air missile sites and nine other priority targets. Contrary to some published accounts, Chinese or North Vietnamese radar did not track the aircraft, nor did North Vietnam fire any missiles at it. The A-12 had proven itself a valuable imagery collector, untouchable by hostile air defenses far below.

Interestingly, high-altitude testing of our reconnaissance aircraft like the U-2 and A-12 had an unexpected side effect — a tremendous increase in reports of unidentified flying objects (UFOs).

Strange things in the skies in the ‘50s & ‘60s? That was us. #WorldUFODay

#HISTINT

"But, Officer! I thought this was America?! 🦅🤔"
05/31/2019

"But, Officer! I thought this was America?! 🦅🤔"

04/11/2019
Israel in the USA

Relatable. First of its kind. Should be interesting.

Watch live as SpaceIL makes history by landing Beresheet on the Moon! Today, Israel becomes the 4th country to ever land a craft on the Moon's surface.

#IsraeltotheMoon

We Are The Mighty
04/08/2019
We Are The Mighty

We Are The Mighty

Neil Armstrong himself was among the test pilots.

Daniel Alarik
03/15/2019
Daniel Alarik

Daniel Alarik

I'd add a highly disciplined infantry unit to this list.

Incredible!!
03/08/2019

Incredible!!

These images are of T-38 USAF Test Pilot School aircraft flying faster than the speed of sound (767 mph). No they are not photoshopped. Using new NASA air to air schlieren photographic technology which shoots 1,400 frames per second, people are able to see how the airplanes create waves when air molecules begin to compress because they are flying faster than the speed of sound. These images were taken about 2,000 feet above the aircraft.

01/10/2019
Why Was This Plane Invulnerable: The SR-71 Blackbird Story

Lot of informational videos of this kind on YouTube lately. This was well made.

The Cold War locked the United States and Soviet Union into a tense struggle for global influence and control. The first purpose-built American spy plane to ...

It's always nice to be remembered!!
01/08/2019
Grunt Style

It's always nice to be remembered!!

1900 knots!

"Air Power, Ground Power" - By page fan Jennifer Egista Artistry Drawing realized with Watercolors Maimeri and Colored P...
12/03/2018

"Air Power, Ground Power" - By page fan Jennifer Egista Artistry

Drawing realized with Watercolors Maimeri and Colored Pencils Faber-Castell Polychromos and Prismacolor Premier on Fabriano Tiepolo paper.
Dimensions: 20x27 inches.

10/31/2018

Righting the wrongs of First Man.

"I'm still goin' upstairs like a bat out of hell!"

#ChuckYeager

Walk on home boy!!
10/18/2018
We Are The Mighty

Walk on home boy!!

These pilots definitely gave air traffic controllers a reason to smile that day.

Doctrine Man
10/14/2018
Doctrine Man

Doctrine Man

Today marks 71 years since @GenChuckYeager "rocketed past the sound barrier." Never a doubt he had the Right Stuff.

06/12/2018

Totally forgot to post this earlier: Yours truly was at a McDonald's in DC the other night munching on apple pie and coffee with friends. The next table over, are kids wearing an SR-71 Blackbird t-shirt and discussing this very page. I couldn't help but overhear their conversation and chuckle within.

If only they'd known who was eavesdropping!!

Doctrine Man
06/02/2018
Doctrine Man

Doctrine Man

If you have a grand just sitting around doing nothing... have I got a deal for you.

Read and drool!It wasn't always 'LA Speed Check' for Major Brian Shul. One of our own got to sit down with the man (and ...
12/31/2017
Meet the man who flew the SR-71 Blackbird—the world’s fastest jet

Read and drool!

It wasn't always 'LA Speed Check' for Major Brian Shul.

One of our own got to sit down with the man (and managed to not drop their jaw in awe - I can imagine goosebumps at Mach 3.2! 😉) to get us this piece of... er... um... ah... SPEED!

Pilot Brian Shul discusses his unique trajectory—in life and in flight—ahead of his Hiller Museum event

Received from a follower. If anyone's interested.
12/15/2017
PRE-ORDER - Limited Edition SR-71 Blackbird SetSigned by Six Pilots

Received from a follower. If anyone's interested.

PRE ORDER LISTING FOR DELIVERY BEFORE CHRISTMAS Limited Edition SR-71 Blackbird Coin set. Limited to only 71 sets worldwide, this is your chance to own a stunning collectible coin set that includes the signatures of six SR-71 Blackbird pilots! Taking centre stage is a 2.5" coin featuring the famous�...

Never gets old!!!
12/02/2017
SR-71 Blackbird Pilot Trolls Arrogant Fighter Pilot with Ground Speed Check.

Never gets old!!!

This may be the single greatest aviation story ever told, it's about the iconic SR-71 Blackbird whose full operating specs are still classified to this day. The story, from the now out-of-print book Sled Driver by former SR-71 jockey Brian Shul (available used on Amazon for just $700). Here’s the ...

Doctrine Man
10/03/2017
Doctrine Man

Doctrine Man

“The thing was fast as a whip and built like a butterfly,” says [Frank] Murray. “And with that huge wing, the easiest plane I’ve ever landed. The brakes weren’t worth a sh*t, but we had a 40-foot drag chute, so that helped.”

Here comes the (possible) successor. Decades after I hung my boots!
09/06/2017
We Are The Mighty

Here comes the (possible) successor. Decades after I hung my boots!

Meet the SR-72.

Business Insider
08/24/2017
Business Insider

Business Insider

The jet could outfly any missile fired at it.

07/21/2017
AviationDirect Easyplan

Savage!

The LA Speed Story. Thanks for this brilliant video clip Karl Jensen !
Marie

We Are The Mighty
06/24/2017
We Are The Mighty

We Are The Mighty

Ever wonder what it's like to eject from an SR-71 at supersonic speed?

America, Hell Yeah
02/28/2017
America, Hell Yeah

America, Hell Yeah

Still one of the best aviation stories in history and a great re-read.

25 Mind Boggling Facts About the SR-71. #12 Made Me Wince. [VIDEO]
08/05/2016
25 Mind Boggling Facts About the SR-71. #12 Made Me Wince. [VIDEO]

25 Mind Boggling Facts About the SR-71. #12 Made Me Wince. [VIDEO]

The SR-71 Blackbird is a total badass. It was the nation's preeminent spy plane for more than 30 years and served as the gatekeeper between the era of spy plans and spy satellites. But what really mattered was that the thing flat out hauls serious butt. When you make the fastest plane

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