In 1966, Weaver was flying an SR-71 at full speed, Mach 3.18, when it abruptly and catastrophically disintegrated. Somehow, he survived the breakup. He didn't eject; the plane just tore itself apart around him and scattered in all directions. In other words, he suddenly found himself flying along at Mach 3.18 ... without his plane. (via)
The Lockheed Martin Skunk Works have finally announced the successor to the famous SR-71 Blackbird. The new spyplane, an unmanned drone called the SR-72, will perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions like its forbearer, but unlike the Blackbird it may also perform a strike role. Using Aerojet Rocketdyne scramjets mated with standard military jet engines, the plane will cruise at hypersonic speeds up to Mach 6, almost doubling the SR-71's top speed of Mach 3.3.
How did Lockheed move the A-12 from the Skunk Works to Area 51 for flight testing without the vehicle being seen? Here's how.
The SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft was designed to cruise at speeds in excess of Mach 3. But what's the slowest speed attainable by an airborne Blackbird?
Online SR-71A Flight Manual. Included in sr-71.org's excellent Blackbird Archive is a scanned copy of the actual "Dash-1" flight manual for the famous SR-71A reconnaissance plane. [more inside]