The SR-71 Blackbird. Credit: U.S. Air Force, Judson Brohmer - Armstrong Photo Gallery

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Flashback Friday: Remembering The SR-71 Blackbird


A look at the final flight of the SR-71 Blackbird supersonic reconnaissance aircraft.

Welcome to Flashback Friday. Later today look for a second helping of FF, but for this post we’re featuring the SR-71 Blackbird. After years of development and over 30 years of service as a supersonic reconnaissance aircraft, the Blackbird made its final flight on Oct. 9, 1999 at Edwards Air Force Base Open House Airshow.

The SR-71 was developed as a recon aircraft that could fly higher and faster than enemy missiles could reach. A total of 32 were built and none were lost during missions. The Blackbird could reach Mach 3-plus thanks to its sleek design and the power of its two Pratt & Whitney J58 axial-flow turbo-jet engines.

Stay tuned for sonic booms …

Written by Wendell Barnhouse

Wendell Barnhouse is a veteran journalist with over 40 years of experience as a writer and an editor. For the last 30 years, he wrote about college sports but he has had an interest and curiosity about aviation since he was in grade school.