The SR-71 Is Still The Baddest Bird Ever

Because it’s faster, faster than anything before or after. Faster than you could ever imagine.

SR-71 Blackbird
NASA Photo

Habu. Sled. Blackbird. Strategic Reconnaissance 71 has had plenty of nicknames since the first example arrived at California’s Beale Air Force Base in 1966. Fifty years on, the SR-71 is still the fastest manned jet ever recorded. Try Mach 3.2, or 2,455 mph. The SR-71 is faster than a 30-06 bullet. And, best of all, it predates the Digital Age.

So admire every line, every functional scoop and duct and point. Really stare at them. A human imagined those, each and every one, using a slide rule. The dyes and molds were all later destroyed under the direction of Robert McNamara, then Secretary of Defense, for fear that another nation might copy its design. The only evidence of the SR-71s brilliance is the SR-71 itself. The baddest bird ever? You bet your ass, cowboy.

NASA Photo
NASA Photo
NASA Photo
NASA Photo
NASA Photo
USAF/Judson Brohmer
NASA Photo / Tony Landis
NASA Photo / Tom Tschida
NASA Photo / Tony Landis
NASA Photo
NASA Photo / Tony Landis
NASA Photo / Tony Landis
NASA Photo / Tony Landis
USAF/Judson Brohmer
AP Photo/Walt Zeboski
NASA Photo / Tony Landis
AP Photo/Mark Faram
AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye