SR-71 50th Anniversary

Discussion in 'Hangar Flying' started by GlassVampire, Dec 22, 2014.

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  1. Dec 22, 2014 #1

    GlassVampire

    GlassVampire

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    Interesting bit of trivia for all you avgeeks :)

    50 Years ago today (Dec 22, 1964) Lockheed SR-71 (s/n 61-7950) made its maiden flight from Air Force Plant 42, Palmdale, California (The Skunkworks) with Lockheed test pilot Bob Gilliland onboard.

    Earlier versions of the aircraft (the A-12) had already been test flown from Groom Lake (Area 51) for the CIA on 30 April, 1962.

     
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  2. Dec 22, 2014 #2

    GlassVampire

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  3. Dec 22, 2014 #3

    GlassVampire

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  4. Dec 22, 2014 #4

    akwrencher

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    Nice :) Still one of the coolest airplanes of all time IMO.
     
  5. Dec 22, 2014 #5

    Victor Bravo

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    One of the greatest achievements in human history IMHO. By luck and happenstance, I have been fortunate to meet one or two of the people who were involved.

    For the sake of perspective, I believe this aircraft design was begun only 12 or 13 years (and flown less than 20 years) after the end of WW2 when piston powered aircraft were still in front line service. The airplane was designed and engineered with slide rules, and drawn on paper at drafting tables 20 or 30 years before the internet, CAD/CAM, and fluid dynamics visualization.
     
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  6. Dec 22, 2014 #6

    Vigilant1

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    Yes, truly amazing. And an amazing period for aerospace engineering in general. Entirely new and unique U.S fighter aircraft entered >production< every 3 yrs or so, the remarkable B-58, the amazing technological marvel of ICBMs (place a payload anywhere in the world in less than 30 minutes, very close to the desired point with no human navigation required). On the civil side we had the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8 that changed air travel entirely within a few years. Slide rules, talent, money, focus (courtesy of a real adversary) and a willingness to take risks got a lot done.
     
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  7. Dec 22, 2014 #7

    bmcj

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    Which is kind of sad that, in the last 50 years, they have not really developed the next "coolest airplane of all time".
     
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  8. Dec 22, 2014 #8

    JamesG

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    They have. Its just classified. Remember for the first decade of its service life, the SR-71 was top secrut and no one but the occasional airliner pilot looking in the right direction at the wrong time ever saw one.
     
  9. Dec 22, 2014 #9

    Hot Wings

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    Maybe you know something the rest of us don't, but I've just always presumed that unless they have developed a runway to orbit single vehicle system there isn't any tactical need for "the next coolest airplane". It might also depend on your definition of "airplane"?
     
  10. Dec 22, 2014 #10

    oriol

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    It goes without saying that each has its own definition of cool airplane. IMHO although both the Helios and the HPAs designed by Paul Mc Cready can not be compared with a SR 71 in terms of performances they represent big milestones of the recent aviation history.


    I believe that we can be "moderately" satisfied because since the maiden flight of the Blackbird a new generation of minimal and affordable airplanes (hangliders, paragliders, microlights...) has emerged. Although there is still a long way to go this categories of airplanes had allowed to open the doors of aviation to a greater number of people.



    Oriol
     
  11. Dec 22, 2014 #11

    K4WGE

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  12. Dec 23, 2014 #12

    bmcj

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    Agreed. When I borrowed that phrase, I meant it specifically to the high and fast realm.
     
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  13. Dec 23, 2014 #13

    Pops

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    If someone was alive in 1900 and then in 1950, huge change in living standards and our culture. Then if someone was alive in 1950 and then in 2000, they would feel very much at home, not much change except computers. ( I was born in 1940) . I was raised by my Cherokee Grandfather ( 1876-1959) and was raised and lived the same as the Indian 1880 horse culture. I didn't have a dog, I had a 1800 lb 2 year old wild stallion, or maybe he had me for a pet.

    Dan
     
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  14. Dec 23, 2014 #14

    akwrencher

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    I was born in 1978, just a youngin', but I spent a lot of my child hood without running water, telephone, tv, or even electricity at times. We did have a chainsaw though, didn't have to cut wood by hand :)

    On topic, I watched a cool documentary last winter on the SR-71. It had an amazingly long service history, I don't think they ever lost a plane on a mission, and was only recently retired in favor of satalites. Quite a history.
     
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  15. Dec 23, 2014 #15

    Pops

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    How could any airplane lover not love a SR-71?

    Grew up 7 miles from the nearest road, no electric, plumbing, or anything else. Lived in a shack with 1/2" gaps in the walls and floors. Have had 3' of snow inside the house. Went to a one room school. Raised or killed all of our food.

    Dan
     
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  16. Dec 23, 2014 #16

    JamesG

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    You forgot walking uphill both ways. ;)
     
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  17. Dec 23, 2014 #17

    Pops

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    Nope , On a mountain ridge.


    A SR-71A is on display at the Airforce Museum in Dayton, Ohio.
     
  18. Dec 23, 2014 #18

    TFF

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    I shed a tear every time I see one on display. I have seen 6-7 of the A12 or SR71s out there. I love vintage photos of the early ramp equipment around these things. Just like a space ship landed in the 50's. Another favorite is one of the Northrop wings with a converted Model T truck as a bowser in the background. Now, we cant even make a full run of fighters without the news hammering our incompetence of vetting problems and cost over runs.
     
  19. Dec 23, 2014 #19

    DangerZone

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    How different is it's outside from the one in New York, the Lockheed A-12? A couple of years ago an aircraft carrier called Intrepid had the A-12, Concorde and other cool airplanes on show aboard. I sneaked into the Concorde and browsed the Lockheed black bird, both seemed to be marvelous aircraft.
     
  20. Dec 23, 2014 #20

    oriol

    oriol

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    I understood that, I am also aware that you fly a trike, I was not trying to criticize anyone in particular. It was just a general comment because it seemend that compared with the old days or since Kelly Johnson quit nothing really thrilling/epic happened in aviation.

    BTW I too think that the blackbird is a marvellous airplane, a flying artwork.


    Oriol
     

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