Watch This In-Depth Tour of the SR-71 Blackbird’s Jet Engine

Watch This In-Depth Tour of the SR-71 Blackbird’s Jet Engine

The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird is widely known as the fastest plane to ever take to the sky. It set a ground speed record of 3,529 km/h all the way back in July of 1976. That may not even be its true top speed: Another Blackbird pilot claimed to hit Mach 3.5 (or nearly 4,345 km/h) in April of 1986. Regardless of the record, it’s indisputably the fastest plane in existence… ever… in the world… of all time… for now.

Power was provided by two Pratt & Whitney J58 jet engines. At full tilt it could produce up to 25,500 pounds of force. It was – and still is – a behemoth. To give you a reference for how big and powerful this jet engine was, starting it up required a special cart with two Buick V8 engines to crank it. That’s actual insanity.

Anyway, I’m not doing justice to this piece of engineering. If you have the time, I implore you to watch this video from the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo, Michigan. It features a former Blackbird crew chief going into all sorts of detail about the J58. It’s well worth your time. Sit back and enjoy. I know I did.

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