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I am a former aerospace inspector, multiple weapons systems. Am very much about teaching my children about life. Walsh had special appreciation for the Blackbirds, as he had worked first with Lockheed subcontractor Hughes Aircraft on the YF, and as an analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency, he said.
It was my favorite airplane in high school. I memorized all the stats," Davis recalled. In addition to their participation in the SR project, the Dryden honorees had long resumes as research pilots in other areas. He also held administrative positions of increasing responsibility during his tenure at the center, including acting chief of the Flight Crew Branch in In addition to his work as an SR pilot, Schneider was well known for his nine-year stint as project pilot for the F High Alpha Research Vehicle, in which he became the first pilot in history to conduct multi-axis thrust-vectored flight.
Air Force to fly to Mach 3 in an SR, an event many have credited with breaking the glass ceiling for thousands of young women seeking careers in aerospace. She was chief engineer at Dryden and served in a number of other administrative capacities, but she also was well known for her devotion and dedication as a mentor for young girls interested in technical career fields. Bohn-Meyer lost her life Sept. The annual Math and Science Odyssey at Antelope Valley College, in which she participated each year, now is named in her honor.
In addition to his role as project pilot on the SR, Smith was best known as Dryden chief pilot. In fact, the fuel was used as a coolant and hydraulic fluid in the aircraft before being burned. The fuel also contained fluorocarbons to increase its lubricity, an oxidizing agent to enable it to burn in the engines, and even a cesium compound, A, which disguised the exhaust's radar signature.
JP-7 is very slippery and extremely difficult to light in any conventional way. The slipperiness was a disadvantage on the ground, since the aircraft leaked fuel when not flying, but at least JP-7 was not a fire hazard. When the engines of the aircraft were started, puffs of triethylborane TEB , which ignites on contact with air, were injected into the engines to produce temperatures high enough to initially ignite the JP The TEB produced a characteristic puff of greenish flame that could often be seen as the engines were ignited.
TEB was also used to ignite the afterburners. The aircraft had only 20 fluid ounce ml of TEB on board for each engine, enough for at least 16 injections a counter advised the pilot of the number of TEB injections remaining , but this was more than enough for the requirements of any missions it was likely to carry out. These suits were later adopted for use on the Space Shuttle during ascent.
In addition, at Mach 3. This was achieved by cooling the air with an air conditioner.
Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird
The air conditioner dumped the heat from the cockpit into the fuel prior to combustion via a heat exchanger. After a high altitude bailout, an oxygen supply would keep the suit pressurized. The crew member would then free-fall to 15, feet before the main parachute was opened, allowing the high heat rise to bleed off as the crew member slowed down and descended. Since the cabin altitude of the SR stayed at 27,, feet 8,, m during flight, crews flying a low-subsonic flight such as a ferry mission would wear either their full pressure suit or standard USAF hard hat helmets, pressure demand oxygen masks and nomex flying suits.
Before the Blackbird, titanium could only be found in aircraft in high-temperature exhaust fairings and other small parts directly related to supporting, cooling, or shaping high-temperature areas. The advances made by Lockheed in learning to deal with this material have been used in subsequent high-speed aircraft such as most modern fighters. Titanium was difficult to work with, expensive and scarce. In fact, much of the titanium bought by Lockheed to make Blackbirds had to be imported from the Soviet Union. One example of the difficulties of working with titanium is the fact that welds made at certain times of the year seemed to be more durable than welds made at other times.
It was eventually found that the water supplied to the manufacturing plant came from one reservoir in the summer and another reservoir in the winter; the slight differences in the impurities in the water from these different reservoirs led to differences in the durability of the welds, since water was used to cool the titanium welds.
Studies of the aircraft's titanium skin revealed that the metal was actually growing stronger over time due to the intense heating due to compression of the air caused by the rapid flight of the vehicle.
Major portions of the upper and lower inboard wing skin of the SR were actually corrugated, not smooth. The thermal expansion stresses of a smooth skin would have resulted in the aircraft skin splitting or curling. By making the surface corrugated, the skin was allowed to expand vertically as well as horizontally without overstressing, which also increased longitudinal strength. The red stripes found on some SRs are there to prevent maintenance workers from damaging the skin of the aircraft. The curved skin near the centre of the fuselage is thin and delicate.
There is no support underneath with exception of the structural ribs, which are spaced several feet apart. Each J58 engine could produce 32, lb f kN of static thrust. Conventional jet engines cannot operate continuously on afterburner and lose efficiency as airspeed increases. The J58 was unique in that it was a hybrid jet engine. It could operate as a regular turbojet at low speeds, but at high speeds it became a ramjet.
The engine can be thought of as a turbojet engine inside a ramjet engine. At lower speeds, the turbojet provided most of the compression and most of the energy from fuel combustion. At higher speeds, the turbojet throttled back and just sat in the middle of the engine as air bypassed around it, having been compressed by the shock cones and only burning fuel in the afterburner.
In detail, air was initially compressed and thus also heated by the shock cones, which generated shock waves that slowed the air down to subsonic speeds relative to the engine. The air then passed through four compressor stages and was split by moveable vanes: some of the air entered the compressor fans "core-flow" air , while the rest of the air went straight to the afterburner via six bypass tubes.
The air traveling on through the turbojet was further compressed and thus further heated , and then fuel was added to it in the combustion chamber: it then reached the maximum temperature anywhere in the Blackbird, just under the temperature where the turbine blades would start to soften.
After passing through the turbine and thus being cooled somewhat , the core-flow air went through the afterburner and met with any bypass air.
At around Mach 3, the increased heating from the shock cone compression, plus the heating from the compressor fans, was already enough to get the core air to high temperatures, and little fuel could be added in the combustion chamber without the turbine blades melting. This meant the whole compressor-combustor-turbine set-up in the core of the engine provided less power, and the Blackbird flew predominantly on air bypassed straight to the afterburners, forming a large ramjet effect.
No other aircraft does this. This shows how the temperature tolerance of the turbine blades in a jet engine determine how much fuel can be burned, and thus to a great extent determine how much thrust a jet engine can provide. Performance at low speeds was anaemia. Even passing the speed of sound required the aircraft to dive.
The reason was that the size of the turbojets was traded to reduce weight but to still allow the SR to reach speeds where the ramjet effect became prominent and efficient; then, the airplane came alive, so to speak, and rapidly accelerated to Mach 3. The efficiency was then good due to high compression and low drag through the engine, and this permitted large distances to be covered at high speed.
Originally, the Blackbird's engines started up with the assistance of an external "start cart", a cart containing two Buick Wildcat V8 engines which were rolled out onto the runway underneath the aircraft. The two Buick engines powered a single, vertical driveshaft connected to a single J58 engine. Once one engine was started, the cart was wheeled over to the other side of the aircraft to start the other engine.
The operation was deafening. In later versions, however, a highly volatile chemical, triethylborane, was injected via a built-in piston for each engine and exploded, starting the engines. Blackbird precision navigation requirements for route accuracy, sensor pointing and target tracking preceded the development and fielding of the Global Positioning System GPS and its family of position-determining satellites.
Nortronics, the electronics development organization of Northrop, had extensive astro-inertial experience, having provided an earlier generation system for the USAF Snark missile. When the Skybolt Program was cancelled in December , the assets Nortronics developed for the Skybolt Program were ordered to be adapted for the Blackbird program.
The ANS primary alignment was done on the ground and was time consuming, but brought the inertial components to a high degree of level and accuracy for the start of a mission. A "blue light" source star tracker, which could detect and find stars during day or night, would then continuously track stars selected from the system's digital computer ephemeris as the changing aircraft position would bring them into view. Originally equipped with data on 56 selected stars, the system would correct inertial orientation errors with celestial observations.
Rapid ground alignments and air-start abilities were later developed and added to the ANS.
The ANS was located behind the RSO station and tracked stars through a round, quartz window seen in photos of the upper fuselage. Cooling in the Blackbird Mach 3. The ANS became a highly reliable and accurate self-contained navigation system. Imagery systems used on the Blackbird were diverse. At the simple end of the spectrum, SRs were equipped with a Fairchild tracking camera of modest resolution and an HRB Singer infrared-tracking IR camera, both of which ran during the entire mission to document where the aircraft flew and answer any post-flight "political" charges of overflight.
SRs were equipped with two of them, each with a six-inch resolution and the ability to show such details as the painted lines in parking lots from an altitude of 83, feet. In the later years of the SR operation, usage of the infrared camera was discontinued.
Side-looking radar, built by Goodyear Aerospace in Arizona, was carried in the removable nose section which could be loaded with the SLR antenna in the maintenance shop before installation on the Blackbird. Both the first SLR and ASARS-1 were ground mapping imaging systems and could collect data in fixed swaths left or right of centerline or from a spot location where higher resolution was desired. As an example, in passing abeam of an open door aircraft hangar, ASARS-1 could provide meaningful data on the hangar's contents. Computer-loaded instructions looked for items of special intelligence interest.
They, their warning and active electronic capabilities, and the Blackbird's ability to accelerate and climb when under attack, resulted in the SR's long and proven survival track-record. Recording systems captured SLR phase shift history data for ground correlation after landing , ELINT-gathered data, and Maintenance Data Recorder MDR information for post-flight ground analysis of the aircraft and its systems' overall health humorous stories accompanied some of the flight crews' discovery that the voice track in the MDR recorded interphone conversations between pilot and RSO and tanker aircraft crew members during refueling hook-ups.
In the later years of its operational life, a data-link system was added that would allow ASARS-1 and ELINT data from about 2, nm of track coverage to be downlinked if the SR was within "contact" with a mutually-equipped ground station. This later capability was mounted on a separate, large, rectangular glass plate approximately 6 feet by 12 feet in size over which moved an optical sighting head that traveled at the scaled speed and direction of the Blackbird during its simulated flight.
Imagery was not provided to the pilot's simulator, which like the RSO simulator, had translucent window panels with varying degrees of lighting to change a simulated flight from daylight to night flying conditions. Instructor positions were behind both the pilot's and the RSO's cockpits, with monitoring, malfunction and emergency problem controls provided.
Although most simulator flights were in a flight suit "shirt sleeve" environment, selected flights during a crew's checkout training were made with the crew wearing the complete David Clark Company's Full Pressure Suit. Total secrecy was so complete that no one in the New York township site was aware of what was going on behind the busy checkout stands selling foodstuffs and beverages.
Another unique feature was that an actual flight mission tape for the SR ANS could be loaded into the Flight Simulator's digital computers, which had been designed and programmed by Link engineers to emulate the Nortronics ANS. The plane developed a small cult following, given its design, specifications and the aura of secrecy that surrounded it.
Recent studies of inlets of this type have shown that current technology could allow for inlet speeds with a lower bound of Mach 6.