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Thread: SR-71 Cockpit Tour

  1. #1
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    SR-71 Cockpit Tour

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Isn't this something...
    NMUSAF - SR-71A Front Cockpit

    Mal.

  2. #2
    Member ASchecter's Avatar
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    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; 17th November 2014 at 04:16 PM.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Very nice Mal!


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

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    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.


    SR-71.jpg



    Java "Oh to break those surly bonds..." phile
    Last edited by Javaphile; 17th November 2014 at 09:16 AM.
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  5. #5
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    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; 17th November 2014 at 11:08 AM.
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  6. #6
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    Quote 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; 17th November 2014 at 01:33 PM. Reason: Hangar roof was wrong, so more research. :)
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  7. #7
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    The SR-71 Blackbird has to be right up there as one the most incredible aircraft ever...

    Certainly my favourite anyway...

    Mal.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Quote 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...
    Quote 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.

    Quote 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
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  9. #9
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    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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    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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    Quote 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 !

  12. #12
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Quote 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.

  13. #13
    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
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    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. #14
    Life-long Learner DesigningByCoffee's Avatar
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    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

  15. #15
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    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.

  16. #16
    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
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    By all glass cockpit, Mal, I mean that the analogue gauges were replaced with digital screens.

    The U2 cockpit upgrade...

    U2_Glass_Cockpit.jpg
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  17. #17
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    The original A-12's were retired in 1968. The SR-71's were initially retired in 1989. Three were briefly returned to active duty in the mid 1990's with one being retired in 1998 and the last two being flown by NASA until 1999 when they too were retired. All of the planes were retired well before the advent of glass cockpits with only the last three that were pulled out of retirement being active when it would have been possible for them to have been retro fitted with glass cockpits. Given how short a time they were reactivated for and how little they wanted to spend on them I don't find it surprising that they retained their original instrumentation.


    Java "Suit me up and fly me away!" phile
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  18. #18
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoota_gal View Post
    By all glass cockpit, Mal, I mean that the analogue gauges were replaced with digital screens.
    Ah, gotcha...

    As JP says, in the view of the politicians at the time, these beauties became a money pit that they weren't prepared to support, so any kind of upgrade no matter how small, would be very much frowned upon. The U2 is simply cheaper to keep flying and does what the polly's want...

    Mal.

  19. #19
    tim
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    Amazing plane.
    There's a documentary which no doubt most have seen from 2009 where James May of Top Gear fame flies to 70,000 feet + in the RSO (I guess) seat of a U2.
    Great film of the curvature of the earth and edge of stratosphere.
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoota_gal View Post
    Just amazing what "Skunkworks" designed in the 50's really, all with rulers and paper too!
    I have to agree it was a wonderful aircraft for it's time, the toboggan refuelling must have been interesting.

    It seems that the Black Programs are better hidden nowadays. Just imagine what they could produce today, super quiet, low radar cross section helicopters (Silent Hawk) and other wondrous flying/orbiting machines.
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  21. #21
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoota_gal View Post
    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.)
    Hiya Scoots...

    Finally managed to be able to sit down and watch the video on the TSR-2... I actually remember this aircraft, would you believe. Back in the 60s is when I started my training with English Electric (as it was known then, became GEC and then Alstom). There were photos of it up on the wall in the engineering/design offices and at the time, I thought it was a rather strange looking bird but didn't know much about it at all.

    That video certainly filled in all the gaps of my knowledge about it and as you say, a sad story. Can't expect much else I guess when pollies start playing those sorts of games. Thanks for the memories Scoots...

    Mal.
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  22. #22
    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
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    Yep, I have a copy of that dvd Tim. It was an entire show James May did and the dvd had a separate and more in depth film of the U2 ride. Love watching it.

    As a bit of fun last year, friends released a high altitude balloon. Of course we put a gopro into the payload, along with a few other things, including Buzz Lightyear! When we finally got the box back, I put together a video of the whole thing (including us driving around the countryside trying to find the payload!) and it will be something the kids we did it for will long remember.
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  23. #23
    tim
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    Scoota that's really cool. How far did the balloon travel?
    What altitude did it reach?

    My son and I like to fly model rockets a bit and I've considered putting a small camera in one.
    Lots of launchers do it and there are heaps of videos on YouTube but I'd like to do a local one.
    Trouble is, we've launched locally to about 1500 feet and even that is a breach of CASA regulations in controlled airspace (read most of Geelong)
    If we want to go bigger/higher we need to go to Serpentine where they launch up to 25,000 feet.
    In the US it's really big and some folks regularly launch to 60,000 FT (in one case 121,000 feet!)
    Of course, altitude also = $
    :-)

  24. #24
    Super Moderator scoota_gal's Avatar
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    My friends kids are into rockets too. They've done a couple of launches of rockets but nothing very high to date. I suspect that will change as the boys get older! One of them has already written to CASA asking permission to launch a space going vehicle at some stage of his young life! (CASA wrote back too.)

    The balloon went to around 110, 000 ft. We did it with the help of the local ham radio club from Tamworth who guesstimated the height, considering that they lost telemetry on the way up. Along with all the GPS locator beacon's transmissions. They didn't figure out why only that it was the most violent ascent they had seen any of the balloons launched to date so far. I think that balloons are a bit cheaper too!

    CASA is pretty good with this kind of thing. My friends made an application to launch on the date and place they chose (there is a good internet website which can calculate which is the best date to launch) and CASA put out a NOTAM to let pilots know of the potential hazard. Once it gets above 40,000 ft its never much of a problem to aircraft anyway!

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    Found the auto pilot control and ejection control. Can confirm my fight ready status. I got this.
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