SR-71

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Pitchy
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SR-71

#1 Post by Pitchy » Wed Oct 23, 2019 6:28 am

We had one land at Luke in the 70`s, something see see got up close to it and yep they leak fuel as seen in the begining of the video.
Awesome plane.

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Re: SR-71

#2 Post by GunnyMack » Wed Oct 23, 2019 6:37 am

The Reno air races in 1986, the opening ceremony and just at the end of the National Anthem the Blackbird comes in low to the deck out of the East across the race course to the cheers of the crowd. Was a sight I'll never forget. The crew took it out and around coming back for a low speed pass. As they got to the west side of the field the throttles were pushed forward, the burners glowed with the pulling back on the stick and it went close to vertical and out of sight in a matter of seconds!
Truely an amazing aircraft.
A few days later we got a fly by of the U2 as well.
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Re: SR-71

#3 Post by Pitchy » Wed Oct 23, 2019 7:04 am

Yep, we had a U2 land at Luke also.

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Re: SR-71

#4 Post by Grizz » Wed Oct 23, 2019 8:40 am

O Man Lenn

I thought you built one !! :lol:

there is one at the seattle museum of flight.... totally mind bending

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Re: SR-71

#5 Post by Bill in Oregon » Wed Oct 23, 2019 9:32 am

I have seen a couple as well. The most amazing aircraft this nation ever fielded, and I am sorry they are no longer in service. Next in neat factor has to be a B-2 doing a low pass.

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Re: SR-71

#6 Post by Pitchy » Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:29 am

Yep they are cool aircraft, i was fortunate to be able to walk around them while they were running.
Got to watch them put the wing wheels on the U-2 and watch it take off. 8)
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Re: SR-71

#7 Post by Old Savage » Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:47 am

They flew out of here for years. You could watch them fly over on take off and landing. Two are on display now.
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Re: SR-71

#8 Post by Thunder50 » Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:04 pm

March field?
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Re: SR-71

#9 Post by Blaine » Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:18 pm

GunnyMack wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 6:37 am
The Reno air races in 1986, the opening ceremony and just at the end of the National Anthem the Blackbird comes in low to the deck out of the East across the race course to the cheers of the crowd. Was a sight I'll never forget. The crew took it out and around coming back for a low speed pass. As they got to the west side of the field the throttles were pushed forward, the burners glowed with the pulling back on the stick and it went close to vertical and out of sight in a matter of seconds!
Truely an amazing aircraft.
A few days later we got a fly by of the U2 as well.
Saw one take off at Osan AFB, 1979-ish, (you know, where the USA swore up and down they were not ever there :lol: ) The roar was deafening, and it went almost virtical. Then, when it was nearly out of sight and hearing range, I guess the afterburners kicked in and it was just as loud as when it was taking off.
8) 8) 8) 8) 8)

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Re: SR-71

#10 Post by piller » Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:22 pm

I just wonder what we now have to replace it? The SR-71 was kept a secret for a long time. It is now retired, and I doubt that it would have been retired if we did not have something to replace it.
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Re: SR-71

#11 Post by jeepnik » Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:38 pm

Old Savage wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:47 am
They flew out of here for years. You could watch them fly over on take off and landing. Two are on display now.
Somebody has been to Palmdale.
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Re: SR-71

#12 Post by jeepnik » Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:45 pm

piller wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:22 pm
I just wonder what we now have to replace it? The SR-71 was kept a secret for a long time. It is now retired, and I doubt that it would have been retired if we did not have something to replace it.
Seems to be some question as to it being "retired". Seems they reported more being made that retired. The CIA was flying them as was the USAF. And we all know what is replacing it. Aurora. Supposedly work began on it in 2013 by Lockheed Skunk Works. Who else? Now considering the secrecy surrounding the U-2 and SR-71 and the length of time they were in service before their existence was acknowledged I figure the SR-72 Aurora has been flying for a few years before it was announced to be in "planning".
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Re: SR-71

#13 Post by AJMD429 » Wed Oct 23, 2019 4:12 pm

jeepnik wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:45 pm
piller wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:22 pm
I just wonder what we now have to replace it? The SR-71 was kept a secret for a long time. It is now retired, and I doubt that it would have been retired if we did not have something to replace it.
Seems to be some question as to it being "retired". Seems they reported more being made that retired. The CIA was flying them as was the USAF. And we all know what is replacing it. Aurora. Supposedly work began on it in 2013 by Lockheed Skunk Works. Who else? Now considering the secrecy surrounding the U-2 and SR-71 and the length of time they were in service before their existence was acknowledged I figure the SR-72 Aurora has been flying for a few years before it was announced to be in "planning".
That could account for many of the 'UFO/ sightings we hear about....
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Re: SR-71

#14 Post by Old Savage » Wed Oct 23, 2019 4:23 pm

Jeepnik or lives a few miles away for 45 years. Drove by the Skunk Works today .
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Re: SR-71

#15 Post by TWHBC » Wed Oct 23, 2019 6:06 pm

Was at an airshow many many years ago in Louisiana. It was hot and sunny, and everyone had sunburned faces with raccoon eyes from sunglasses. The announcer advised that the Air Force had advised them that a SR-71 was available for a flyby, and would the crowd like to see one? Cheer went up and the announcement said it would be a little while, but they would give a countdown so the crowd could be ready. They spent some time explaining the virtues of the SR-71, how fast it was,
and even rumors of stealth. There were further announcements about making sure that parents kept their children close-by so they could cover theirvears and so forth. The count down went 10 minutes..... 5 minutes..... 2 minutes..... 1 minute..... 30 seconds..... then 10,9,8.....etc. It got real quiet, anticipation was evident then nothing! :shock: Crowd was grumbling, voices were raised, yelling etc. The announcer said what's the problem, We told you it was faster than anything in the air, did you miss it? :lol: :lol: Of course then the announcer said all adults got a free beer, and kids a popsicle.! The crowd cheered, remember this was Louisiana and free beer solved most anything!

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Re: SR-71

#16 Post by jnyork » Wed Oct 23, 2019 6:42 pm

You can see one at the Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton Ohio. Also, IIRC there is one at the USAF Museum at Hill AFB, Utah. Take in that one and the Browning Museum in one day.

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Re: SR-71

#17 Post by jeepnik » Wed Oct 23, 2019 6:54 pm

Old Savage wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 4:23 pm
Jeepnik or lives a few miles away for 45 years. Drove by the Skunk Works today .
That explains it. I
Worked
On the county health facility on I street during construction and start up. I handed it off to one of younger guys but still get out there from time to time. The museum is pretty cool 😎
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Re: SR-71

#18 Post by jeepnik » Wed Oct 23, 2019 7:01 pm

Top speed is at altitude. The thicker air closer to the ground cause too much friction. Stii the first one I saw fly by was amazingly fast. Closest think to it I have seen was the F-104 Starfighter. Also a Lockheed aircraft. Not sure if Kelly Johnson was involved with it but it wouldn’t surprise me.
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Re: SR-71

#19 Post by piller » Wed Oct 23, 2019 7:06 pm

The lead sled was a fast aircraft, too. One Uncle, Dad's Brother in Law Charlie, was Crew Chief for one. As long as the flame stayed lit there was not much that could keep up with it or turn with it.
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Re: SR-71

#20 Post by Old Savage » Wed Oct 23, 2019 7:14 pm

Well Jeepnik, at what altitude was the amazingly fast SR when you saw it. As you know it flew around here all the time until it was retired.

I would have to say the fastest stuff I have seen were the low passes at the air shows here but the SR us much faster and much faster than they ever admitted.
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Re: SR-71

#21 Post by GunnyMack » Thu Oct 24, 2019 5:14 am

It's speed known by the public was Mach 3+ , what the actual top end was is probably still classified!
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Re: SR-71

#22 Post by jeepnik » Thu Oct 24, 2019 5:56 am

Old Savage wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 7:14 pm
Well Jeepnik, at what altitude was the amazingly fast SR when you saw it. As you know it flew around here all the time until it was retired.

I would have to say the fastest stuff I have seen were the low passes at the air shows here but the SR us much faster and much faster than they ever admitted.
Low approach at George AFB. PLENTY fast compared to the top US fighter of the day the F-4. Sonic booms indicated it was at least mach 1. Not a single complaint from anyone on or off base.
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Re: SR-71

#23 Post by Ray » Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:03 am

I've seen and touched the precursor lockheed A-12 at the USS Alabama Memorial Park in Mobile.....

It is said that Gen. Triang offered great rewards to either the s.a.m. crew or pilot who shot one down but when it flew across hanoi it only took about 3 seconds before it was over the sea or 18 seconds to laos depending on direction of flight.
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Re: SR-71

#24 Post by Pitchy » Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:40 am

jeepnik wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 5:56 am
Old Savage wrote:
Wed Oct 23, 2019 7:14 pm
Well Jeepnik, at what altitude was the amazingly fast SR when you saw it. As you know it flew around here all the time until it was retired.

I would have to say the fastest stuff I have seen were the low passes at the air shows here but the SR us much faster and much faster than they ever admitted.
Low approach at George AFB. PLENTY fast compared to the top US fighter of the day the F-4. Sonic booms indicated it was at least mach 1. Not a single complaint from anyone on or off base.
They did at Sun City :lol:
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Re: SR-71

#25 Post by Booger Bill » Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:06 pm

I was a Lockheed guard from 1965 to 2000. I was around them all the time. Both the SR-71 and U-2 and everything else they built. Knew the pilots and most everyone that worked on them. One day, I think on a Sunday, I was home and bs`ing on the phone to my best friend, also a guard where they were based at site 2. He got a radio call from the tower that I could hear.
The back seat guy asked that the fly way gate be opened to the field as they had a engine flame out over salt lake and would be landing at Palmdale in 14 minuets. That`s about 540 miles! I lived near the field, timed it, went outside and seen it come in right on time! Gary Powers was a U2 test pilot. One day he came to my gate and was waiting for his wife to pick him up.
I had my Harley sitting by the gate and he asked if he could sit on it. I said I will give you that harley for a ride in the U-2. He said you wouldn't like it, it`s like sitting in a gold fish bowl for 14 hours! One night a U-2 came in and the pilot marveled to me that he just had seen the lights of San Francisco and Phoenix at the same time!

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Re: SR-71

#26 Post by fordwannabe » Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:09 pm

The lead instructor when I was in airframe and power plant school in the 80’s had worked on the avionics of the 71. He had a few photos but in each case the cockpit was covered from view. He had lots of cool stories about working on different military planes. Every time he mentioned the blackbird he got a smile a mile wide.
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Re: SR-71

#27 Post by jeepnik » Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:08 pm

Egress manual for the SR71 was one page. It showed a line drawing of the cockpit with a small door. Inside was a T handle attached to a lanyard.

Instructions were to open the door and pull the handle. If the pilot was ejected allow the aircraft to burn. If the pilot wasn’t ejected allow the aircraft to burn.

They were dead serious about those instructions. The skycops were supposed to shoot anyone attempting to extinguish any fire.
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Re: SR-71

#28 Post by Grizz » Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:54 pm

Booger Bill wrote:
Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:06 pm

Those are great hanger talk stories. Thanks.

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Re: SR-71

#29 Post by Rusty » Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:21 am

I don't have any first hand knowledge but if you read the book SKUNKWORKS by Ben Rich it reveals quite a lot. From what I read in the book the first craft that Kelly worked on was the P-38 in WWII days. IIRC he was in a wheelchair recovering from a stroke the first time they rolled out the SR-71 and that was about all he ever got to see of it, so I'd say he saw everything from the P-38 forward.
Personally I wouldn't bet that there aren't still U-2s and SR-71s still flying. Look at how long some of our other planes have been flying. There are planes in the air now that are older than the pilots driving them.
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Re: SR-71

#30 Post by wolfdog » Fri Oct 25, 2019 6:01 am

Do a search for LA Speed story by Brian Shul, funny story about the SR71. On phone right now and can't share link.

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Re: SR-71

#31 Post by Old Savage » Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:39 am

U2s are still flying. You can tell if it is one because it is loud a long time. Skunk Works is less than 5 miles from here. SR, not in years. They surely have something faster now and satellites. They used to test SR engines on Wed morning. You could hear those from here.
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Re: SR-71

#32 Post by Larkbill » Fri Oct 25, 2019 4:12 pm

In the mid 50s one of Dad's 6 sisters who was destined to be an old maid packed everything she could fit in her VW and departed for California. She settled at Huntington Beach and lead a pretty Bohemian lifestyle all the while telling everyone she was working as a para-legal freelancing at several offices. Fast forward to '73 she retired and moved back to Missouri, settling on a lot at Lake of the Ozarks. Paying cash for everything, apparently quite flush. She was finally able to tell the truth. She was a records clerk at the Skunkworks and part of the deal was she couldn't tell anyone where she worked and what she did. It would have driven all the hippies that were her neighbors crazy to know she worked somewhere like Lockheed. Said it was a great place to work, got to meet a bunch of famous people and got to go on "field trips" to Groom Lake several times. That was really about all she would say about it, was top secret to the end.
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Re: SR-71

#33 Post by jeepnik » Fri Oct 25, 2019 5:08 pm

Larkbill,

HB hasn't changed all that much. I have a friend a couple of years older than I. The only way to describe her is as an unrepentant Hippie. Our politics could not be more different. Yet we always have and enjoyable time when we are together.
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Re: SR-71

#34 Post by wrangler5 » Tue Oct 29, 2019 10:44 pm

Served as a JAG at Beale AFB, CA from 68 to 72. It was my initial duty station, and I entered the base through a side gate that was pretty much in line with the departure end of the runway. I'd been in law school for 3 years and had never heard of the SR-71, but as soon as I got on the base one took off - I'd guess it was well below 2000 feet as it showed up in my windshield and immediately disappeared overhead. They're huge planes, especially when first seen that way, and between the speed, the unexpected bat plane shape and the noise it was a miracle I didn't drive off the road. Welcome to the Air Force.

There's tons of info about the plane online, much of it repetitive, but I find all of it interesting. What none of it, including the videos, can convey is the incredible sense of power that you got when you were around one as it took off. If you were on the flight line, the rattling, ripping-canvas sound of the motors would almost literally shake your teeth. But (we were told that) Beale was the second largest AF base in the country (after Eglin in FL) - it had been a tank training base during WWII, so they needed lots of space for maneuvers and impact area. One result of the base size was that the housing area was about 6 miles from the flight line - and around a hill. (The flight line was on the floor of the central valley of northern CA, while the housing area was in the first foothills of the Sierras.) From the BOQs we didn't hear the B-52s when they took off, but you always knew when an SR left, even at that distance.

I also remember one flight when I was working on a private pilot license through the Beale Aero Club. We took off and landed at the base, but flew away to the west to practice maneuvers over the farm fields. Returning to base one time, probably at 600-1000 feet in preparation for a midfield entry to the landing pattern, we were asked to hold west of the field for what turned out to be an SR-71 departure. We were in a Cessna 152, and radio communication back then was through the plane's speaker - we had no headphones, so you got to listen to the plane's motor and air flow around the cabin, in addition to the radio. But from miles away and in that noisy environment, you still could not miss the enormous power of that SR taking off.

BTW, one of the many factoids I've read since those days is that the steep angle of departure was necessary in order to keep air speed below 400 knots while the landing gear retracted - it couldn't retract above that speed, and the plane would get there (from its ~200 knot liftoff speed) in a heartbeat if you didn't get the nose up as soon as you left the ground.

There can't be any of 'em still flying. The unique fuel they burned, the special tools needed to work on 'em (rumor was that trace elements in ordinary tools would transfer to screw slots and bolt heads, and ignite at the extreme temperatures the skin would reach at full speed) and the specially trained pilots, support and maintenance crews, would be impossible to hide for long. Supposedly their reconnaissance can be adequately replaced by drone and satellite sensors, although their ability to show up unpredictably, take your picture before you really know they're there, and be gone before you can do much about it, probably can't be fully replaced by any but the stealthiest drone, if even then. They were a marvel in their day, but sadly, their day seems to be gone.

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Re: SR-71

#35 Post by jeepnik » Wed Oct 30, 2019 2:00 am

An ex USAF officer and you don’t think they can “hide” the SR71? They did pretty good for a long time. Didn’t do a bad job hiding the F117. And these days no one would even question tools of exotic materials. Heck I’ve got a titanium hammer in the toolbox of my pickup.
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Re: SR-71

#36 Post by Old Savage » Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:06 am

They did maintenance and flew missions with them from here for years. They were coming and going regularly. You could hear the engines five mikes away. There are two of them on display. Hide them, that would have to be very remote. They had faster things while they were still flying.
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Re: SR-71

#37 Post by wrangler5 » Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:47 am

Oh clearly they could hide a few SRs and tankers in the desert, and could easily surveil a lot of the western hemisphere from there. But covering Europe, the Middle East and Asia would require tanker support in those areas, and I doubt you can do THAT from Nevada. There's a reason the SRs had operating bases, including storage facilities for their exotic fuel, in England and Okinawa. Even if it were physically possible to launch tankers from Nevada to refuel SRs over the Med or the South China Sea, the cost would probably be even more astronomical than it was when the SR program was shut down - ostensibly for cost reasons. Just as they were successful in hiding the 117s in the desert, when it came time to use them for real the planes came out of the shadows because it just isn't feasible to run ongoing operations from those nonexistent bases.

The same thing happened with the D21 drone program. One of my roommates was the Security Police officer for the 4200 Support Squadron, which flew the D21. They had been at a nonexistent base during development and testing, but when it came time to fly missions over China, the unit was moved to Beale - which happened just as I went on active duty. They had their own B-52 and a secure hangar for the drones, and did not need aerial refueling for their missions, but it still was too difficult and expensive to run operations out of nowhere.

So no, I don't think they could be running effective, worldwide SR-71 missions from a nonexistent base in Nevada. And the plane is too big, has too big a support footprint, and is too well known to "hide" at any other place that's not in the middle of a whole lot of nowhere. At least that's the opinion of a long-ago JAG based on 50 year old memories.

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Re: SR-71

#38 Post by Old Savage » Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:53 am

The air force just landed an unmanned space plane that looks like a small shuttle that had been aloft for 580 days. I think the technological approach has moved far beyond the Blackbird.
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Re: SR-71

#39 Post by piller » Wed Oct 30, 2019 1:19 pm

O S, that sort of backs up my point that there is probably something else being used.
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Re: SR-71

#40 Post by AJMD429 » Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:09 am

A story of one that blew up....one of the pilots survived...!

https://youtu.be/nRyIGTkcmII
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