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.
The interesting video in this post features The U.S. Air Force SR-71 Blackbird Plane That Holds SIX World Records. In the video Museum Docent, Scott Willey describes the final record-setting flight of the National Air and Space Museum’s SR-71.
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.
The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird also broke the world’s record for sustained altitude in horizontal flight at 25,929 meters (85,069 feet).
The same day another SR-71 set an absolute speed record of 3,529.6 kilometers per hour (2,193.2 miles per hour), approximately Mach 3.3.