The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird is easily one of the most breathtaking airplanes ever built, both for its looks and for its speed and ceiling. How fast? Better than Mach 3. How high? Above 85,000 feet, or more than 16 miles.
In 1976, it set world records in both categories, according to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force: an absolute speed record of 2,193.167 mph and an absolute altitude record of 85,068.997 feet. With skills like that, the SR-71 -- 107 feet long, with a 55-foot wingspan, and powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney J58 turbojet engines of 32,500 pounds thrust each, with afterburner -- was unparalleled in its mission to provide long-range strategic reconnaissance.
June 23, 2013 8:45 AM PDT
Photo by: U.S. Air Force photo
| Caption by: Jonathan Skillings
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