The Insane Engineering of the SR-71 Blackbird (19-mim)

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During that Blackbird's final flight on Mar. 7, 1990, the plane and its pilots set four new speed records:   •
SR-71 Blackbird: Legacy of Innovation

BLACKBIRD: LEGACY OF INNOVATION chronicles the development of the SR-71 Blackbird strategic reconnaissance aircraft, an icon of aviation history that fundamentally changed aerospace design and dynamics. The SR-71 was designed and built in the 1960s as a classified military project by Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Development Projects team (nicknamed the “Skunk Works” division), and to this day it remains the world’s fastest and highest flying aircraft. The one-hour documentary charts the establishment of the acclaimed Skunk Works group under Clarence L. “Kelly” Johnson, and examines the challenges and breakthroughs encountered while working on the Blackbird design. The engineering team had to not only figure out a plane material that could handle the extreme temperatures generated by airflow friction at such a high speed, but also develop an engine that could provide the necessary thrust. The story of the SR-71 is also placed within the larger history of the CIA reconnaissance program during the Cold War.

The SR-71 documentary by Fuel Creative    premiered in November 2017 at the Science Museum of Virginia. PBS will broadcast it 2018-19-20. Check you local PBS station.

The SR-71 (17968) outdoor exhibit was moved to the new indoor Speed Exhibit.




 Preview 
2:40 min

…behind-the-scenes look at the development of the
Science Museum of Virginia's Speed exhibit
8:28 min


  Major Brian Shul …true story of a ground speed check,
     while piloting the SR-71 Blackbird over Southern California.
5:08 min


  Pilot Maury Rosenberg …true story when he decided
to request a "fly-by" over the Sacramento airport
5:30 min

SR-71 Skunkworks
Image of Lockheed Skunk Works