This was the only time that Santa Claus marshalled in an SR-71
Taken by former SR-71 Crew Chief Tsgt. David Burns, the odd photos in this post show Santa Claus marshalling in an SR-71 Blackbird Mach 3 spy plane. Burns was a Blackbird Crew Chief at Beale Air Force Base (AFB), Ca and Det One, Kadena Air Base (AB), Okinawa.
According to www.sr71.us, the pictures come from his personal collection. Probably this was the only time that Santa Claus marshalled in an SR-71.
The SR-71, unofficially known as the “Blackbird,” was a long-range, advanced, strategic reconnaissance aircraft developed from the Lockheed A-12 and YF-12A aircraft. The first flight of an SR-71 took place on Dec. 22, 1964, and the first SR-71 to enter service was delivered to the 4200th (later 9th) Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Beale AFB, Calif., in January 1966.
Throughout its nearly 24-year career, the SR-71 remained the world’s fastest and highest-flying operational aircraft.
Actually its incredible speed enabled it to gather intelligence in a matter of a few seconds while streaking across unfriendly skies. From 80,000 feet, it could survey 100,000 square miles of Earth’s surface per hour. And in the off chance an enemy tried to shoot it down with a missile, all the Blackbird had to do was speed up and outrun it.
Thanks to its astonishing flight characteristics, the aircraft has set numerous speed and altitude records during its career, like those established on Jul. 28, 1976 by an SR-71 that set two world records for its class – an absolute speed record of 2,193.167 mph and an absolute altitude record of 85,068.997 feet.
The U.S. Air Force retired its fleet of SR-71s on Jan. 26, 1990, because of a decreasing defense budget and high costs of operation.
Photo credit: Tsgt. David Burns / U.S. Air Force via www.sr71.us
Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com