February 20, 2011

Epic Plane of Greatness

Wikipedia is a wonderful little tool especially if you're looking to find info on some of the most random of things. One of those things? The Lockheed SR-71.

This won't be a history lesson, I promise, but this plane holds records for flying the fastest and highest before being retired in 1998. Enemy countries could fire missles at the thing but good luck catching them.

So lets take a look at why this plane is an epic plane of greatness.

1. It was the first plane to use stealth technologies, but here's the thing, its engines were so fast and created such a exhuast that it was visible anyways via radar for 100s of miles. That didn't matter though, as the plane could simply outrun the missles and not a single one was ever shot down.

2. The air friction was so great, that the plane's fuselage was comprised of loose panels that would seal up once it got into the air due to the speed of the plane. Built from titanium, they found out that the skin of the airplane actually got stronger the more flights it took due to the air friction "heat treating" the airplane. When it landed, you couldn't touch the skin because it was upwards of 300 °C.

3. The plan has also set records for altitude (85,069 feet) and absolute speed (2,193.2 mph) Wow. It traveled from LA to Washington D.C. in 64 minutes.

4. Pilots had to wear pressure suits designed to handle the extreme heat if they ejected. They also had probably the world's coolest air conditioner because the cockpit's windshield would heat to 250 °F. Once ejected, the pilot would free fall for 15,000 feet before deploying their parachute.

Wow slightly better than the plane you use to fly from Spokane to Seattle. This is the last one I flew on...

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