Cold War Era

Cool video shows SR-71 Blackbird igniting the afterburners during very low fly pass

“The SR-71 pilot circled around behind the crowd and came in behind the hangers so as not to be seen or heard and just as he cleared the hangers he threw it into full afterburner. The sound was like an explosion and everyone jumped. It was awesome.”

Taken at Nellis Air Force Base (AFB) the impressive video in this post shows an SR-71 performing two low passes during the Golden Air tattoo in 1997.

According to one spectator who attended the airshow, before the second low pass the SR-71 pilot “circled around behind the crowd and came in behind the hangers so as not to be seen or heard and just as he cleared the hangers he threw it into full afterburner. The sound was like an explosion and everyone jumped. It was awesome.”

This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. SR-71A Blackbird 61-7972 “Skunkworks”

Two Pratt & Whitney J58s powered the highly-sophisticated Lockheed SR-71 high-altitude strategic reconnaissance aircraft as well as its forerunners, the Lockheed A-12 and YF-12A prototype interceptor. In July 1976, J58 engines powered an SR-71 to a world altitude record of 85,069 feet and another SR-71 to a world speed record of 2,193 mph.

The J58 engine was developed in the late 1950s by Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Division of United Aircraft Corp. to meet a U.S. Navy requirement. It was designed to operate at speeds of Mach 3+ and at altitudes of more than 80,000 feet. The J58 was the first engine designed to operate for extended periods using its afterburner, and it was the first engine to be flight-qualified at Mach 3 for the U.S. Air Force.

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com

Source: National Museum of the U.S. Air Force 

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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