Of course, most of you know what took place to make world history on March 16, 1916, but the successor to that early Curtiss JN-3, Jenny, also a special SR (Surveillance-Reconnaissance) aircraft, the Lockheed RS-71 Blackbird, also made its mark on aviation history.
While the Jenny flew into history by engaging in the first sustained U.S. combat operations using airplanes in March 1916, 74 years later, or 31 years ago today, the First Aero Squadron’s SR-71 Blackbird also flew into the history books. Here, below (only 00:24 sec. long), is the Blackbird flying very slowly with its landing gear extended for landing:
It was on March 6, 1990, that the SR-71 made the fastest flight by an airplane from Los Angeles, CA to Washington DC – in record-breaking time . . . and that record still stands unbroken to this date.
It made that flight in only 64 minutes!
Pilots Ed Yielding and Joseph Vida flew that transcontinental flight from Los Angeles, California, to Washington, DC, in a blistering 64 minutes – – – with an average speed of 2,144.8 MPH.
Here are some interesting facts along with several videos of that initially retired in 1990 First Aero speed machine, which was later put back into the skies by Congress in 1995, but later, in 1997, when it was finally cut from the USAF inventory by President Bill Clinton, effective in 1998.
Below is a short video (1:15 long) explanation at the Smithsonian SR-71 Display, but the moderator, Peter Jakab, Chief Curator at the Smithsonian Air & Space Center, made two misstatements. Can you detect either of them?
In 1976, the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird broke the world’s record for sustained altitude in horizontal flight at 25,929 meters (85,069 feet). The same day another SR-71 set an absolute speed record of 3,529.6 kilometers per hour (2,193.2 miles per hour), approximately Mach 3.3. Both of these distinguished records still stand unchallenged.
And here’s Scott Willey, also at the Smithsonian, describing the coast-to-coast record (:45 sec.):
And, another video (1:13 long):
And now, some “sonic booms” behind several classic photos of the Blackbird in flight (:47 sec.):
To see who the (only 86) pilots were who actually flew the Blackbird operationally, here’s that listing. Do any of you know which of the FASF Advisors was one of those select few pilots?
If you’d like to see more about this all-time record-breaking flying machine, just enter “SR-71 Blackbird” in our FASF website’s search field to your right, and you’ll find much more interesting information, photos, and videos of the successor to the FAS Curtiss JN-3 of 1916. There are at least four other posts about this famous blackbird.
Here’s another short (5:21) video by a former Blackbird pilot, Colonel Rich Graham, on what goes into flying the speed machine.