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Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

The world’s fastest jet powered aircraft remains the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird.  The record was set with a speed of 3,530 km/h (2,193 mph) on 28 July 1976 near Beale Air Force Base, California, USA.

Systems engineering and modular design skills can be used to create a simple design of this iconic aircraft.  Try the following:

  • Fuselage (structural system);
  • Left wing (lift system);
  • Right wing (lift system) – the wings are mirror images of each other and therefore individually unique;
  • Two identical engines (propulsion).

The Blackbird continues to hold the record for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic Ocean (New York to London) by a jet aircraft, a record set on 1 September 1974 with a flight of 1 hour, 54 minutes and average speed 2,907 km/h (1,807 mph).

The design of the Blackbird was a product of the Cold War and evolved from an aircraft called the “A-12”, a CIA reconnaissance aircraft and the first operational jet aircraft capable of flying at Mach 3 (three times the speed of sound).

The A-12 design evolved into the SR-71 Blackbird. The Blackbird entered operational service starting 1966 and the last two Blackbirds were operated by NASA until 1999 – a period of more than 30 years.

DID YOU KNOW?

The speed record was set with a speed of 3,530 km/h