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Video: Behold the Iconic SR-71 Blackbird, the Fastest Jet To Ever Fly

The experimental X-15 was faster, but was more rocket-based than it was a jet.

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The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird is the fastest jet to ever fly. In 1976, the aircraft set records both for flying at a sustained altitude of 85,069 feet and for reaching a top speed of Mach 3.3, or 2,193 miles per hour. No jet has flown faster since. The NASA/USAF X-15 reached speeds of Mach 6-plus, but was more rocket-based, so it's not really referred to as a jet. Check out the fascinating video below for more about the SR-71. 


Uploaded by @tech, the clip elicits some engaged comments from viewers.

"Is there anything more iconic than the SR-71 Blackbird?" wonders @jonnylee022. "Can't believe nothing has gone faster for 46 years."

"Many aircraft have gone faster since, but they were mostly experimental, from the X-15 up to the more recent Aurora," writes @slydermac.

"The speed accomplishments were actually achieved in the late 1960s," notes @writeroftomes3. "I was assigned to a USAF base with a TS clearance where the jet flew out of."

User @alexandersvarte1 has a thought about the changing priorities for a contemporary challenges. "We can make something faster, just we don't have a need for it," he says.

"Used by both NASA and the USAF, the SR-71 was developed in the 1960s for reconnaissance missions," writes Jetify on its Website. "The last SR-71 was retired in 1999 by NASA since many reconnaissance roles are now undertaken by satellites."

"As well as flying fast, the Blackbird was capable of flying high for sustained periods," Jetify adds. "While some jets can climb high, many cannot cruise at high altitudes, but the SR-71 could easily fly at heights of 25,000 metres, making it perfect for reconnaissance from a safe distance."

At one time, the SR-71 flew from New York to London in 1 hour and 54 minutes. This was faster than the Concorde, which at the time took 2 hours and 52 minutes.

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