Meet the SR-71 Blackbird — in my humble opinion, the most spectacular and beautiful plane ever built. I just stumbled across some rare photos of her and I still have goosebumps. It seems Lockheed Martin has published a book about the plane that includes some high resolution scans of old photos.
I saw a Blackbird once, at a great distance. Knowing it would be in the area that day making a stop at Tinker AFB, I kept scanning the skies. And sure enough, I spotted it. It was pretty far away, and never came closer, but there was no mistaking that silhouette.
And I remember fondly an old ’80s TV show, “Call to Glory” starring Craig T. Nelson, which featured the Blackbird. It only lasted a season or two, so apparently not everyone was enchanted by an airplane.
Anyway, those of you interested in the SR-71 might want to check out the photos, if not the accompanying history. And for those not interested, I’ll close with a quote from Major Brian Shul, who wrote about his experiences as a Blackbird pilot:
“… in 1990, confronted with budget cutbacks, the Air Force retired the SR-71.The Blackbird had outrun nearly 4,000 missiles [flying as high as 84,000 ft.], not once taking a scratch from enemy fire.
“On her final flight, the Blackbird, destined for the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, sped from Los Angeles to Washington in 64 minutes, averaging 2,145 mph and setting four speed records.”
Now that’s flying.