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Lockheed SR-71B Blackbird

On loan from the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

Lockheed SR-71B Blackbird

Did You Know?

  • This is the only SR-71B Blackbird left in the world!
  • Although frequently fired upon, none of the 32 Blackbirds produced were ever shot down by enemy missiles.
  • No reconnaissance aircraft in history has operated in more hostile airspace or with such complete impunity.
  • The SR-71 Blackbird is a long-range, advanced, strategic reconnaissance aircraft used by the U.S. Air Force during the Cold War.
  • To withstand high temperatures generated by friction in the upper atmosphere during sustained Mach 3 flights, 93% of the Blackbird's airframe consists of titanium alloy.
  • Throughout its nearly 24-year career (from 1966-1980s), the SR-71 remained the world's fastest and highest-flying operational aircraft. From 80,000 feet, it could survey 100,000 square miles of Earth's surface per hour.
  • On Sept. 1, 1974, an SR-71 flew from New York to London in 1 hour, 54 minutes, 56 seconds-smashing the previous trans-Atlantic speed record by nearly three hours!


Crew Two
Wingspan 55 ft. 6 in.
Length 107 ft. 4 in.
Height 18 ft. 5 in.
Weight 59,999 lbs. (empty); 172,000 lbs. (loaded)
Maximum Speed Mach 3+ (over 2,000 mph)
Service Ceiling 85,000 ft. and 16 miles
Engine Two Pratt & Whitney J58 axial-flow turbojets with afterburners, producing 32,500 lbs. of thrust
Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Program