One of my goals in Dayton was to see the iconic Blackbird.
The Lockheed SR-71A holds all the records for high and fast flight. 85,068.997 feet and 2,193.167 MPH. It flew for 24 years providing unparalleled reconnaissance capabilities. From 80,000 feet, the Blackbird could survey 100,000 miles of the Earth’s surface per hour.
The USAF Museum’s SR-71 was the first to fly an operational sortie and was retired in March 1990.
Each Pratt & Whitney J58 engine produced 32,500 lbs thrust on afterburner.
It’s doubtful that a manned reconnaissance aircraft like the Blackbird will ever be built again. Satellites and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have taken the SR-71’s place.