Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

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    Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

    Twin-engine, two-seat, supersonic strategic reconnaissance aircraft; airframe constructed largley of titanium and its alloys; vertical tail fins are constructed of a composite (laminated plastic-type material) to reduce radar cross-section; Pratt and Whitney J58 (JT11D-20B) turbojet engines feature large inlet shock cones.

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    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page. Third party or legal restrictions may apply to your use of these images.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

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    Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

    Twin-engine, two-seat, supersonic strategic reconnaissance aircraft; airframe constructed largley of titanium and its alloys; vertical tail fins are constructed of a composite (laminated plastic-type material) to reduce radar cross-section; Pratt and Whitney J58 (JT11D-20B) turbojet engines feature large inlet shock cones.

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    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page. Third party or legal restrictions may apply to your use of these images.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

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    Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

    Twin-engine, two-seat, supersonic strategic reconnaissance aircraft; airframe constructed largley of titanium and its alloys; vertical tail fins are constructed of a composite (laminated plastic-type material) to reduce radar cross-section; Pratt and Whitney J58 (JT11D-20B) turbojet engines feature large inlet shock cones.

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    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page. Third party or legal restrictions may apply to your use of these images.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

    View in Mirador Viewer

    Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

    Twin-engine, two-seat, supersonic strategic reconnaissance aircraft; airframe constructed largley of titanium and its alloys; vertical tail fins are constructed of a composite (laminated plastic-type material) to reduce radar cross-section; Pratt and Whitney J58 (JT11D-20B) turbojet engines feature large inlet shock cones.

    4 of 36

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page. Third party or legal restrictions may apply to your use of these images.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

    View in Mirador Viewer

    Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

    Twin-engine, two-seat, supersonic strategic reconnaissance aircraft; airframe constructed largley of titanium and its alloys; vertical tail fins are constructed of a composite (laminated plastic-type material) to reduce radar cross-section; Pratt and Whitney J58 (JT11D-20B) turbojet engines feature large inlet shock cones.

    5 of 36

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page. Third party or legal restrictions may apply to your use of these images.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

    View in Mirador Viewer

    Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

    Twin-engine, two-seat, supersonic strategic reconnaissance aircraft; airframe constructed largley of titanium and its alloys; vertical tail fins are constructed of a composite (laminated plastic-type material) to reduce radar cross-section; Pratt and Whitney J58 (JT11D-20B) turbojet engines feature large inlet shock cones.

    6 of 36

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page. Third party or legal restrictions may apply to your use of these images.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

    View in Mirador Viewer

    Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

    Twin-engine, two-seat, supersonic strategic reconnaissance aircraft; airframe constructed largley of titanium and its alloys; vertical tail fins are constructed of a composite (laminated plastic-type material) to reduce radar cross-section; Pratt and Whitney J58 (JT11D-20B) turbojet engines feature large inlet shock cones.

    7 of 36

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page. Third party or legal restrictions may apply to your use of these images.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

    View in Mirador Viewer

    Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

    Twin-engine, two-seat, supersonic strategic reconnaissance aircraft; airframe constructed largley of titanium and its alloys; vertical tail fins are constructed of a composite (laminated plastic-type material) to reduce radar cross-section; Pratt and Whitney J58 (JT11D-20B) turbojet engines feature large inlet shock cones.

    8 of 36

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page. Third party or legal restrictions may apply to your use of these images.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

    View in Mirador Viewer

    Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

    Twin-engine, two-seat, supersonic strategic reconnaissance aircraft; airframe constructed largley of titanium and its alloys; vertical tail fins are constructed of a composite (laminated plastic-type material) to reduce radar cross-section; Pratt and Whitney J58 (JT11D-20B) turbojet engines feature large inlet shock cones.

    9 of 36

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page. Third party or legal restrictions may apply to your use of these images.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

    View in Mirador Viewer

    Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

    Twin-engine, two-seat, supersonic strategic reconnaissance aircraft; airframe constructed largley of titanium and its alloys; vertical tail fins are constructed of a composite (laminated plastic-type material) to reduce radar cross-section; Pratt and Whitney J58 (JT11D-20B) turbojet engines feature large inlet shock cones.

    10 of 36

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page. Third party or legal restrictions may apply to your use of these images.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

    View in Mirador Viewer

    Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

    Twin-engine, two-seat, supersonic strategic reconnaissance aircraft; airframe constructed largley of titanium and its alloys; vertical tail fins are constructed of a composite (laminated plastic-type material) to reduce radar cross-section; Pratt and Whitney J58 (JT11D-20B) turbojet engines feature large inlet shock cones.

    11 of 36

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page. Third party or legal restrictions may apply to your use of these images.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

    View in Mirador Viewer

    Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

    Twin-engine, two-seat, supersonic strategic reconnaissance aircraft; airframe constructed largley of titanium and its alloys; vertical tail fins are constructed of a composite (laminated plastic-type material) to reduce radar cross-section; Pratt and Whitney J58 (JT11D-20B) turbojet engines feature large inlet shock cones.

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    Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird Skunk Works Logo

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    Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

    The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird on display at the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.
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    Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

    Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.
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    Lockheed SR-71 (Blackbird) model

    A model of the Lockheed SR-71 (Blackbird) on display in the Looking at Earth gallery at the National Mall building.
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    SR-71 Tires

    Museum docent Scott Willey reveals how the SR-71's tires keep from melting.

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    Blackbird with Back Lighting

    Photographer Eric Long demonstrates how lighting the Blackbird from behind can help highlight the shape and contour of the aircraft. Because the aircraft was designed to reflect light, using a flash head on will result in a photograph that lacks detail. 

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    Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird at the Udvar-Hazy Center

    The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird on display in the Boeing Aviation Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.
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    Lockheed SR-71 and Space Shuttle Enterprise at the Udvar-Hazy Center

    Shown in this 2006 photo are two of the most popular artifacts at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird (foreground) in the Boeing Aviation Hangar and Space Shuttle Enterprise (background) in the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar. Enterprise was replaced by Space Shuttle Discovery in 2012.

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    Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird Landing at Dulles

    The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, with chute deployed, landing at Dulles International Airport on March 6, 1990.
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    SR-71 Moves Into Udvar-Hazy Center Aviation Hangar

    The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird is moved into position on the north end of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center aviation hangar, September 30, 2003.
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    SR-71 Moves Into Udvar-Hazy Center

    The SR-71 Blackbird was stored in a shed at Washington Dulles International Airport for several years before September, 30, 2003, when it was moved to the Boeing Aviation Hangar. It is one of the first aircraft visitors see.
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    SR-71 Moves to Udvar-Hazy Center

    The SR-71 Blackbird was stored in a shed at Washington Dulles International Airport for several years before September, 30, 2003, when it was moved to the Boeing Aviation Hangar. It is one of the first aircraft visitors see.
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    SR-71 Moves Into Udvar-Hazy Center

    The SR-71 Blackbird was stored in a shed at Washington Dulles International Airport for several years before September, 30, 2003, when it was moved to the Boeing Aviation Hangar. It is one of the first aircraft visitors see.
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    SR-71 Moves into the Udvar-Hazy Center

    The SR-71 Blackbird takes its final turn, waiting for the doors to open to its place in the Boeing Aviation Hangar. For many years it rested in a storage shed at Washington Dulles International Airport. This photo was taken on September 30, 2003.
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    Cockpit of the Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird at the Udvar-Hazy Center

    The Blackbird's cockpit was a tight fit for the crew, who wore bulky pressure suits during each mission.

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    Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

    The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird is on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

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    Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

    The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

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    Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

    The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird is on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.
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    Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird Panorama

    Panoramic view inside the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird.

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    SR 71 Afterburner

    Curator John Anderson explains what causes the distinctive diamond pattern in the SR-71 jet engine exhaust.

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    SR 71 Buz Carpenter Longest Flight

    Museum Docent and SR-71 pilot Buz Carpenter describes his longest flight on a top secret reconnaissance mission.

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    SR 71 Pressure Suit

    Curator Dik Daso describes the pressure suit worn by SR-71 crew.  

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    SR-71 Inlets

    Museum Docent Scott Willey describes the function of the SR-71 engine inlets

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    SR-71 Record Flight

    Museum Docent Scott Willey describes the final record-setting flight of the National Air and Space Museum's SR-71.

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Display Status:

This object is on display in the Boeing Aviation Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Boeing Aviation Hangar

No reconnaissance aircraft in history has operated globally in more hostile airspace or with such complete impunity than the SR-71, the world's fastest jet-propelled aircraft. The Blackbird's performance and operational achievements placed it at the pinnacle of aviation technology developments during the Cold War.

This Blackbird accrued about 2,800 hours of flight time during 24 years of active service with the U.S. Air Force. On its last flight, March 6, 1990, Lt. Col. Ed Yielding and Lt. Col. Joseph Vida set a speed record by flying from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., in 1 hour, 4 minutes, and 20 seconds, averaging 3,418 kilometers (2,124 miles) per hour. At the flight's conclusion, they landed at Washington-Dulles International Airport and turned the airplane over to the Smithsonian.