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 This special fuel could drip and leak abundantly as the airframe made up of titanium was retracted while taxiing, and became airtight only when it got its operating shape while flying very fast and very high because of the air density, and surrounding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

Jan. 23 – 1st flight anniversary of both BLERIOT XI & TU-126

Thanks to the new Twitter technology, we can now embed some Twitter posts. A great aviation history’s tweep – @OlePrimdahl – pays tribute to both the Russian Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) Tupolev Tu-126 Moss (January 23, 1962), and the famous French Blériot XI (January 23, 1909) flown by Louis Blériot to cross the Channel for the first time ie 6 months later:



Russian hockey team perish in plane crash

Poor quality fuel possible cause of Yak-42 crash – aviation source

02:15 08/09/2011 Poor quality of aviation fuel could be one of possible reasons for why the Yak-42 plane crashed in Central Russia on Wednesday, killing more than 40 people.>>

FIGHTERJETS compared: Sukhoi T-50 PAK FA vs F-22 RAPTOR

First of all, here is a video on the first T-50’s public display (Moscow – MAKS 2011, August 17, 2011):

The Lockheed Martin/BIDS F-22 Raptor, and the brand new Sukhoi T-50 PAK FA are the current leading-edge 5th generation fighter aircraft. Lots of people would like to assess the capabilities of the two fighterjets. However, no aircraft can be compared regarding its specifications only as fighter aircraft are designed within a wider system – radars; weapon systems; training; and sharing information through data links.

All we know is that the F-22, and the PAK FA are equipped with excellent AESA radars. Though still secret, the Raptor’s stealth is deemed to feature a record-breaking RCS (Radar Cross Section). The T-50, which is to be fielded within the Indian and Rusian air forces, might be equipped with anti-AWACS missiles. The Chinese Chengdu J-20 has not disclosed much information so far, but it will be interesting to this new 5th-gen fighter with the two other aircraft.

Click on the infographics below to read some elementary specifications about the Russian 5th generation fighter aircraft:

 

The T-50 fifth-generation fighter

13:28 19/02/2010 The T-50’s specifications and performance compared to the Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22 Raptor>>

 

 

Mil V-12 or Mi-12 Homer – LARGEST HELICOPTER EVER

The Mil V-12 was the largest helicopter ever built (37-meter long!). It performed its first flight in 1968, and outperformed all the other helicopters in the world. Thanks to its twin rotor, it could lift up to 44 tons as early as 1969. It never entered service as this prodigious prototype remained at the project stage, and for uncleared reasons, its production was cancelled.

VIDEO: