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SR-71 Blackbird set four new speed records the day before its retirement

Truly mind-blowing.
  • The SR-71 ‘Blackbird’ is one of the fastest aircraft ever created
  • The day it was retired, it set four speed records
  • It took just over an hour to fly across the United States

Published on Mar 11, 2024 at 7:55PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on Mar 12, 2024 at 4:04PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Adam Gray

When the US Air Force retired the SR-71 Blackbird, it didn’t sail into the sunset in peace and tranquility.

Instead, it went out with a bang.

Or a sonic boom, to be exact.

READ MORE: The largest private jet in the world also has the most stunning interior

To be replaced by the SR-72, with details still marred by secrecy, the SR-71 is one of the fastest aircraft ever created.

Made mostly from titanium, the Blackbird was operationally retired well over 30 years ago, in 1990, and on its last flight, it set four world records.

On March 7, 1990, pilots Lieutenant Colonel Raymond E. Yeilding and Lieutenant Colonel Joseph T. Vida flew the plane from Palmdale, California to its new home at the Smithsonian Institution’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.

Along the way, four speed records were set.

First, the plane flew from the West Coast of the United States to the East Coast, 2,404 miles, in just 68 minutes and 17 seconds.

Concurrently, it also set a speed record for covering the distance from Los Angeles to Washington DC – 2,299 miles – in 64 minutes and 20 seconds, averaging 2,144.83 mph.

But also also, it flew from Kansas City, Missouri to Washington DC – 942 miles – in just 25 minutes and 59 seconds.

And also also also, it flew from St. Louis, Missouri to Cincinnati, Ohio in eight minutes and 32 seconds.

That’s 311 miles in less than it takes for the fastest-charging EV in the world to be road-ready.

However, out of these four records, the first one is probably the one that stands out the most.

Imagine that, in the same time it takes the average EV owner to charge their car from 0 to fully charged, this plane could literally fly across the United States, coast to coast.

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