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  • SR-71 Cockpit Tour

    Isn't this something...
    NMUSAF - SR-71A Front Cockpit

    Mal.

  • #2
    That is great! I love the red indicator light that says, "RSO EJECTED."

    (RSO is the guy in the rear seat, "Reconnaissance Systems Officer.")
    Last edited by ASchecter; 17 November 2014, 04:16 PM.

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    • #3
      Very nice Mal!


      Java "Zoom, zoom, zoom!!!" phile
      Toys! I must have new toys!!!

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      • #4
        A pilot guided high def walk-through of the cockpit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tj9UwKQKE3A


        High Flight

        Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
        And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
        Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
        of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
        You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
        High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
        I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
        My eager craft through footless halls of air....

        Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
        I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
        Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
        And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
        The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
        - Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

        John Gillespie Magee, Jr.


        Click image for larger version

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        Java "Oh to break those surly bonds..." phile
        Last edited by Javaphile; 17 November 2014, 09:16 AM.
        Toys! I must have new toys!!!

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        • #5
          It's hard to convey the sense of awe unless you have been up close to one of these aircraft, and I could not imagine the feeling of flying one at the edge of space.
          sadly now retired from service.
          http://americandigest.org/sidelines/..._the_blac.html

          PS....is that orange goop on the windshield bolts what I think it is...?.....sealant !
          Last edited by blend52; 17 November 2014, 11:08 AM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Dimal View Post
            Isn't this something...
            NMUSAF - SR-71A Front Cockpit

            Mal.
            This appears to be the cockpit of the SR-71 in the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Centre near Washington Dulles airport. After visiting the Air and Space Museum on the National Mall, we stayed an extra day in Washington to visit the Udvar-Hazy Centre; we could easily have stayed longer.

            Even if you're not that into air and space, if you ever have an opportunity to visit the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, the Udvar-Hazy Centre, or NASA's Kennedy Space Centre, do not pass it up.

            "Amazing" doesn't do justice to the things mankind has achieved in this field in the last century and a bit.


            Edit: Sorry, it's not at the Udvar-Hazy Centre, it's in the National Museum of the US Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton OH. Better add this one to the list!
            Last edited by Banjo.au; 17 November 2014, 01:33 PM. Reason: Hangar roof was wrong, so more research. :)

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            • #7
              The SR-71 Blackbird has to be right up there as one the most incredible aircraft ever...

              Certainly my favourite anyway...

              Mal.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by blend52 View Post
                It's hard to convey the sense of awe unless you have been up close to one of these aircraft...
                Originally posted by Dimal View Post
                The SR-71 Blackbird has to be right up there as one the most incredible aircraft ever...

                Certainly my favourite anyway...

                Mal.
                Yes, yes, yes and yes!!!

                These beauties are the hottest, sexiest planes ever to have existed with performance specs that even 50 years after their first flight no other plane has touched.

                After the government officially revealed the existence of the aircraft in the 1990's we were lucky enough to get one of the original A-12's (The SR-71 is the two seater derivation of the single seated A-12.) which was then put on public display here at the airport. (Until some high mucky-muck decided to move it to a government office building out in Langley, Virginia. ) Every time I went out to see it I got shivers up my spine all over again. Walking up to it the futuristic, almost other-worldly beauty of it brings on a visceral gut-tightening, eye-watering reaction as you stand there in awe of this beautiful beast. For be sure it is a beast. At the same time as its beauty brings tears to ones eyes as you approach it the plane fairly exudes a sense of menace with pure barely controlled power oozing from every square cm of it. Even sitting there mothballed it could hold you spellbound as you heard its primeval scream as it blazed along at the edge of space, so high up the sky above was black with the stars abounding and the Milky Way clearly visible, going so fast you out-paced the sun.

                Originally posted by blend52 View Post
                ...PS....is that orange goop on the windshield bolts what I think it is...?.....sealant !
                Yup! The speed of the plane was so great that at speed friction with the air raised the skin temp of the plane into the hundreds of degrees and caused the craft to grow by over a third of a meter in length! Sitting on the ground preparing to take off the plane leaked fuel like a sieve. After take-off the pilot would do a quick sprint to heat up and expand everything after which they would refuel and head out on their mission.


                Java "Oh you beautiful beast" phile
                Toys! I must have new toys!!!

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                • #9
                  Amazing stuff indeed JP...

                  The very first time I heard of the existence of something nick-named "The Blackbird" was back in the mid-70s as it happened, from an old Air Force buddy from way back then. He extolled many of the 'unbelievable' characteristics and apparent performance numbers that he had heard about, but had never actually seen one. Ever since then, I hoped that one day, we would all get to see this mysterious Blackbird and when we did - Wow! No description could ever have done it justice.

                  Just an unbelievable aircraft in every way...

                  Mal.

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                  • #10
                    Must have been a load of fun to around, it would continually leak fuel while on the ground to allow for expansion at high temperatures while flying.

                    Gaz

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by gazza View Post
                      , it would continually leak fuel while on the ground to allow for expansion at high temperatures while flying.

                      Gaz
                      Yes, and that was no ordinary aviation fuel ! ....it cost more per litre than 100yr old scotch whiskey !

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by blend52 View Post
                        Yes, and that was no ordinary aviation fuel ! ....it cost more per litre than 100yr old scotch whiskey !
                        Actually, the fuel system on these was quite complex due to the difficulty in igniting JP-7 running fuel used. They had to introduce another highly volatile agent - Triethylborane - as an igniter, just to get these engines to fire up. The TEB was extremely dangerous since it would self combust when exposed to air.

                        Mal.

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                        • #13
                          And I thought that an Air Tractor's seat was bad. I know that these guys were probably sitting on their parachutes and life rafts but honestly...nothing spared on pilot comfort in a plane that flew high altitude Mach plus!

                          I reckon that must be an original cockpit, Mal. I'd have thought that they would have upgraded to glass cockpits like they did the U2's over the years. Great to have good look around it, all the same!

                          Still my all time fave aircraft, the SR-71. Just amazing what "Skunkworks" designed in the 50's really, all with rulers and paper too!

                          A while ago, I found a great documentary on Youtube about a British designed plane, the TSR 2 from around the same era. If you ever are interested, its worth a watch. A bit of a sad story but interesting one all the same (the F111 became the plane that this one never did.)



                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o53u0X0Ik0w

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                          • #14
                            Reckon it's amazing that you literally countn't see out of the front of the plane! Just a tower or gauges!
                            Parking it at Woolies must have been a nightmare

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                            • #15
                              G'day Scoots...

                              Yes, definitely no comfort considerations for the pilot and navigator/photographer. They never evolved an all-glass canopy because of the significant physical constraints that the super high flight speeds placed on the air-frame. Would have been cool for the flight crew though, imagine being at 90K above the earth and just gazing around at the Milky Way... Way cool, that is...

                              I'll have a look at that video over the weekend Scoots; looks a very interesting aircraft and don't know much about it, so will be good...

                              Cheers,
                              Mal.

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