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Old Aug 15, 2013, 11:03 AM   #1
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Old Aug 15, 2013, 5:26 PM   #2
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Range 3,000 to 4,000 miles
Enhanced version: Mach 3.2 and altitudes up to 85,000 ft

The aircraft was pretty much 75 percent fuel tanks, 20%engines 2 percent crew and 3% recon hardware. The problem was that it would guzzle up lots of fuel at lower altitudes and lower speeds. It leaks fuel until speed up and friction causes enough heat that the titanium expands and plugs the leaks

The afterburners were needed at above 0.9 Mach, so that it carried startling 38 tonnes of fuel.

A real aerial fuel truck.
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Old Aug 15, 2013, 6:41 PM   #3
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Excellent photo. One of the best airplane shots, I've seen taken in a museum. Great angle.
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Old Aug 20, 2013, 8:39 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by sdromel View Post
Range 3,000 to 4,000 miles
Enhanced version: Mach 3.2 and altitudes up to 85,000 ft

The aircraft was pretty much 75 percent fuel tanks, 20%engines 2 percent crew and 3% recon hardware. The problem was that it would guzzle up lots of fuel at lower altitudes and lower speeds. It leaks fuel until speed up and friction causes enough heat that the titanium expands and plugs the leaks

The afterburners were needed at above 0.9 Mach, so that it carried startling 38 tonnes of fuel.

A real aerial fuel truck.
actually, mach 3.2 is only the published top speed, which roughly corresponds to its world airspeed record of 2,193 mph. but i've seen aircrew members wearing "mach 5 club" shoulder patches. even at 60,000 feet, that's still well over 3,000 mph!

the standard mission profile was to take off, fly around till the skin heated up and sealed the seams, then top off the tanks and fly the mission.

this aircraft, at the Boeing Museum of Flight in Seattle, is actually an A-12, which was the original version developed for the CIA. the USAF version, the SR-71, did not have the drone attachment.
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Old Aug 24, 2013, 4:13 PM   #5
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The most magnificent beast ever built... I am in love with the Blackbird... and yes,as Rocky suggests, Mach 3.2 was somewhat conservative...!!
Super shot Mr Barbarian...
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Old Aug 29, 2013, 12:32 PM   #6
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The most magnificent beast ever built... I am in love with the Blackbird... and yes,as Rocky suggests, Mach 3.2 was somewhat conservative...!!
Super shot Mr Barbarian...
My sentiments exactly. I just love that plane. Ive built models, photographed them and you cant tell they are just toys. Id give all the time I have left to have a coast to coast flight in that plane.
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Old Aug 29, 2013, 8:32 PM   #7
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This is a sort of one-of-a-kind. Notice the D-21 recon drone between the vertical stabilizers. It was planned to launch over unfriendly territory to do recon. But one launch killed the guy in the second seat and destroyed the aircraft, after which the program was cancelled. This is the only one in existence.
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Old Aug 30, 2013, 6:30 AM   #8
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Well that explains it. I kept looking at that drone figuring it was just hanging from the ceiling.
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