The fastest plane in the world was designed with a drafting table and a slide rule.. The Lockheed SR-71; Designed and engineered by Lockheed Martin’s ‘Skunkworks’ Advanced Development Program.
One of the most innovative aircraft ever built. This plane flies over 2000mph (that’s New York to London in less than 2 hours), at up to 85,000 ft. You can’t shoot it down – it’s faster than bullets and missiles. It’s also one of the only machines ever built that uses -less- fuel the more power it makes (more on the engines below).
On a recent visit to the Evergreen Aviation Museum in Oregon, we got to check out a Blackbird on display..
As luck would have it, there was actually a group of pilots and crew members that made a rare appearance to speak about their experiences with the Blackbird. What an amazing program to be part of.. One interesting fact of note; At 85,000 ft, you can see over 3 -trillion- times more stars than you can from the ground!

The engines in the SR-71 are a hybrid of a traditional jet engine, that converts to a ram-jet above super-sonic speeds. The air coming into the engine was already going faster than the jet engine could push it, so they incorporated a air-bypass to go around the jet engine so it becomes a ram-jet. The ram-jet just keeps making more power the faster it goes. One pilot described approaching mach 3 with the throttle pulled all the way back to the stops – and still accelerating… which he called the plane ‘getting away from you’. ummmm, houston, we have a problem..

Below is an excellent documentary on the plane itself, as well as it’s design and construction. It’s well worth watching if you have the time.

If -this- is what was being designed in the late 50’s, you gotta wonder what top secret gear is being built today?!

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