SR-71 Video Roundup

One of the most astounding airplanes ever built has to be the Lockheed Martin A-12 Oxcart -slash- SR-71. Put together by the secretive Skunk Works at Lockheed back in the late 1950s, the SR-71 flew higher, faster, and further than any other aircraft ever built, and did it with remarkable stealth. While certainly not as stealthy as later aircraft (e.g. the F117) the SR-71 did have a remarkably small radar cross-section for such a large aircraft.

By Judson Brohmer/USAF [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Judson Brohmer/USAF [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Of course, when you fly at three times the speed of sound at 80,000-feet plus, nothing is going to catch you anyway. The SR-71 never suffered any combat losses despite numerous attempts by the Soviets and others to bring one down with SAM-2’s or MiGs.

One of the most amazing things about the Blackbird was that it was all designed without the aid of modern computing. It was built in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s and designed using slide rules and pencils to do the immensely complex design and engineering work required to make a mach 3 spy plane.

In the era of the Blackbird, and especially in Kelly Johnson’s Skunk Works, engineers were left alone to make the airplane with minimal supervision. Nowadays a project like the SR-71 would be mired in red tape and bureaucracy and essentially managed to death; the F-35 is a perfect example of how a plane that is engineered well can be thoroughly neutered by bureaucracy and management. Management, especially in aerospace, is the black death of our times. But I digress.

Sadly for me, the Blackbird was retired before I ever got to see one fly. I have no original Blackbird photos and many of the videos I can find are of VHS-quality. Nevertheless, here are a few for you to enjoy. If you have any better Blackbird photos or videos I would love to see them and share them here!


Saturday Special: performance takeoffs!

Today I thought I’d share with you some videos of high-performance takeoffs. While I may wax poetic about the majesty of old warbirds, more modern fighter aircraft can do some jaw-dropping things.

For example, this Eurofighter was spotted making some max-performance takeoffs out of Prestwick in Scotland. This is so awesome that I practically needed to change my pants after I saw it.

Also noteworthy is this video of an F-22 pulling an impressively short and vertical takeoff.

I think I prefer the Eurofighter. Thoughts?

Missing Man

Today, we hold funeral services for my biological father.

He was an aviation enthusiast among other things, and though he may have been a bit misguided during his time here, he was a good person at heart.

Rest in peace.

Ode to the F-111

I’m no Keats or Wadsworth but here’s a brief ode to the wonderful and under appreciated F-111 Aardvark. Enjoy!

Behind sweeping wings Pratt & Whitneys churn

The Aardvark sits ready to fly

With a thumping roar we dump and burn

And scream into the sky

Whether flying high with ECM or low with heavy munitions

The Aardvark rends the sky and leaves sound behind

Mach numbers breaking the needle at 2.5

The Engineers behind this beast are mathematic magicians

A beautiful machine from well-trained minds

When you’re flying in an Aardvark you know that you’re alive.