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SR-71 Blackbird – Surprising Fact

The Fastest Plane in the World

In this day of computers and drones, it’s easy to forget just how incredible this plane was. It still holds the all-time record as the fastest manned aircraft in the world, a title it’s held since 1976. Check out more surprising facts, as well as some incredible photos and videos, of the SR-71 Blackbird below.

SR-71 with dual max afterburners during 1998 engine test

How detailed was the SR-71 camera?

The effort, cost, and danger of the SR-71 program is readily apparent, especially considering the space suits required for pilots to fly the plane at its cruising altitude. All of this was expended and endured just to take some photos. What was so great about them? This brings us to the first surprising fact about the SR-71.

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NASA researches received three SR-71s on loan from the Air Force after the program was canceled for high-speed and high-altitude aeronautical research. (NASA photo)

SR-71 Blackbird could produce images detailed enough to…

SR-71 Surprising Fact #1:
The camera on the SR-71 Blackbird could produce images detailed enough to read a car license plate from 80,000 feet. This fact was published by the Airman, the US Air Force’s official magazine. That might help explain why so much energy and money were poured into this program over the years.

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An SR-71 Blackbird lands in the rain at an undisclosed location. (U.S. Air Force photo)
History timeline of the SR-71 Blackbird