Mach-3 SR-71 Blackbird’s HOT COCKPIT

Blackbird onboard USS Intrepid – Photo © Xavier Cotton http://www.passionpourlaviation.fr

As you may have heard, the mythical Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird was a strategic reconnaissance aircraft able to fly at more than Mach 3 – Mach 3.3 ie around 3,500 km/h; or 1,900 kts; and at a maximum flight level of… FL 850 or 26 kilometers high!

The Blackbird indeed had a unique flight envelope with a particular doghouse plot (since she could not exceed 3.5 G), and an exceptionnal coffin corner limited by her CIT – Compressor Inlet Temperature of 427°C maximum.

This aircraft was also unique for her engines were two J58 ramjets fuelled by JP-7 especially refined for extreme flying purpose. This special fuel could drip and leak abundantly as the airframe made up of titanium was retracted while taxiing, and became airtight only when it got its operating shape while flying very fast and very high because of the air density, and surrounding pressure plus the heating caused by the air friction at such speeds. In short, the whole structure considerably expanded when airborne.

The irony – I heard it on the grapevine, or read it somewhere on the web – that titanium which turned into dark blue while flying (SR-71s probably deserved those unofficial other nicknames « Bluebird », or « Habu » viper) was « imported » from… USSR!

Pilots must have taken significant risks inherent in flying such an aircraft as mentioned in this previous post. These pilots used to fly over the USSR to take strategic reconnaissance photographs during the Cold war. They wore pressurized spacesuits so that their blood could not boil in case of decompression or ejection at such altitudes.

The Blackbird travelled faster than a rifle bullet, and the air friction could have melt aluminum-skinned aircraft. At Mach 3.2, fuel cycled behind the chine surface in order to cool the aircraft! The inner windshield temperature could reach 120°C even though a heavy-duty cooling system was on a full function. On landing, the outside temperature of the canopy could reach 300°C, and it must have been far beyond on the fuselage, and wing surfaces while flying at high speeds. The pilot could feel the heat behind his protective gloves!

Special thanks to Xavier Cotton for the Blackbird photos. Please, visit his website on http://www.passionpourlaviation.fr

AIRBUS VISIONARY PROJECT – TRANSPARENT AIRLINER

Airbus has just unveiled a revolutionary concept through images of a transparent airliner design.

This aircraft of the future will use the latest technology – bionic structure; blended airframe; enhanced laminar flow and noise reduction; blended V-tail; biomorphing seats; leading-edge relaxation systems; human body thermal recycling; dramatic panoramic view; round of golf; etc.

Airbus will showcase their project called Concept Cabin during the Paris Air Show, at Le Bourget Airport. A movie – Airbus Future of Flight – will also be shown in a 360° planetarium at the Musee de l’Air et de l’Espace from 20 to 26 June 2011. Watch what travelling by plane could be… 40 years ahead:

Special thanks to Thierry HERMAS – Aeronautical English teacher at the French Air Force Academy (EOAA, Salon de Provence) – who passed the video link on. Thank you very much indeed.

NUCLEAR REACTOR MELTDOWN EXPLAINED

« Meltdown » means « the accidental melting of the core of a nuclear reactor », and literally after that, a large displacement of radiation throughout the entire atmosphere. Here is how it works (VIDEO):

WILDFIRE in Russia – 52 died, 3,500+ homeless – Missile attack warning center threatened by flames

Wildfire threatens Russian missile attack warning center

17:31 07/08/2010 Wildfire is threatening to engulf the military command of the Russian missile attack warning center in the Moscow region, a spokesman for Russian Space Forces said on Saturday.>>

Views hereafter – click on the satellite picture – NASA courtesy:

Fires nearing Moscow Aug 2010

According to some sources, more than 50 people would have died so far, almost 4,000 would be left, and the blazes keep on spreading. Foreign governments talk their citizens into avoiding travels to Russia. Airports could still operate with numerous delays due to the smog that has reduced visibility between 600 and 300 meters. However, latest news stated that it would not be possible to land on Moscow anymore. Fire hazard remains in remote areas as this smog can be breathed in, and would increase in hazard for health. Moreover, toxic elements would be in the air.

Italy and Ukraine should send aircraft in an attempt to smother fires..

Staggering B-2 crash due to moisture