How It Works

Top 5 Facts: SR-71 Blackbird


Go east!

The SR-71 Blackbird holds the current record for travelling from the west coast of America to the east coast, covering the 2,404 miles in just 64 minutes and 20 seconds.

Black ops

The prototype for the SR-71 was built by Lockheed Skunk Works as a ‘black project’, a designation in both the UK and US that is used on classified military projects.


The speed of the SR-71 means that unlike other aircraft, if fired upon by surface-to-air missiles the Blackbird could just accelerate and outrun them.


Despite its sleek appearance and radar-absorbing materials, due to its large exhaust stream and huge infrared signature, the SR-71 is easily detectable.


Due to the cruising altitudes of the Blackbird its pilots needed to wear full-pressure flight suits while on board. They were later adapted for use on the Space Shuttle program