Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The SR-71 Blackbird

I ended up getting a new diecast model for my collection.  Actually I got a couple new models and I will post the others at some point.  It has actually been a while since I've gotten a new diecast model, so I was kind of happy.
 After the Soviet Union shot down the U-2 flown by Gary Powers in 1960, it was determined that a reconnaissance airplane needed more than the ability to fly high to protect it.   The CIA turned to the Skunk Works which was run by Kelly Johnson, to develop a high speed reconnaissance aircraft.
 The SR-71 developed out of the A-12 Program.  The A designator came from the CIA and was shortened for Archangel.  It competed against the Convair Kingfish and won.  Its development led to a number of new materials being developed because of its high speed.  It had a reported top speed of Mach 3.5 (although I've read that it was actually higher).  It holds the speed record for an air breathing aircraft.
Even though the CIA started the Project, the Air Force took over.   With that came a number of new requirements.  One of those requirements was that the aircraft would have stars on it.  The Skunk Works had to develop a high temperature paint for that.  The first flight was in 1964 and a total of 32 aircraft were produced.  The last flight was in 1994.

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