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  #16  
Old 19 Jan 18, 04:51
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Originally Posted by Bluenose View Post
Yes and no.

Congress authorized funding to correct the problem, but the AF didn't want the SR-71 back.

After a couple years and 3 or 4 birds pulled out of storage the AF shut down the program for good in 1998.

NASA operated a couple for a while afterward, but I believe they don't anymore.
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Old 19 Jan 18, 07:17
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Yes and no.

Congress authorized funding to correct the problem, but the AF didn't want the SR-71 back
Oh, right, I thought it got a final lease of life. Shame; it is a mighty impressive machine.
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Old 19 Jan 18, 09:20
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Originally Posted by Bluenose View Post
Oh, right, I thought it got a final lease of life. Shame; it is a mighty impressive machine.
I don't know why the AF didn't want it back; probably because it didn't have an F or C in front of it.
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Old 21 Jan 18, 03:27
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Quote:
I don't know why the AF didn't want it back; probably because it didn't have an F or C in front of it.
Priorities; strategic recce remains very much an air force thing so I expect it was to do with overall cost calculation than a simple dislike of the aircraft. Mid-'90s would have put it in competition with F-22 and JSF, while retaining the 71 would be probably a short-term effort at the most.
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  #20  
Old 29 Jan 18, 14:28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
I don't know why the AF didn't want it back; probably because it didn't have an F or C in front of it.
SR-71s (and A-12's in Lockheed and CIA parlance) were very expensive to operate and maintain. For one thing, their fuel was unique, and thus it required a unique tanker, as well. For anther, Mach 3 flights were extremely hard on the airframes, which lost twelve to sixteen inches after a mission. Not only did the skin expand and contract when temperatures spiked at nearly 950°F (510°C) but the frame members themselves were stressed, and consequently required intense inspection and maintenance. Ultimately, when the tools and dies were broken up after production was closed, there was really no way to fabricate new parts, and reestablishing production of such limited demand parts would have proven prohibitively expensive.

That was the official line, at any rate. This guy claims that the SR-71 simply wasn't liked by the AF brass, especially the crowd at SAC.
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Old 29 Jan 18, 19:56
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Originally Posted by slick_miester View Post
SR-71s (and A-12's in Lockheed and CIA parlance) were very expensive to operate and maintain. For one thing, their fuel was unique, and thus it required a unique tanker, as well. For anther, Mach 3 flights were extremely hard on the airframes, which lost twelve to sixteen inches after a mission. Not only did the skin expand and contract when temperatures spiked at nearly 950°F (510°C) but the frame members themselves were stressed, and consequently required intense inspection and maintenance. Ultimately, when the tools and dies were broken up after production was closed, there was really no way to fabricate new parts, and reestablishing production of such limited demand parts would have proven prohibitively expensive.

That was the official line, at any rate. This guy claims that the SR-71 simply wasn't liked by the AF brass, especially the crowd at SAC.
The SR-71 ran in afterburner almost the entire time it was in flight. They only went subsonic to refuel. The plane had a special ingniter, can't remember what it was called, it used to start the afterburners. It carried only a limited number of cartridges for that igniter...12 IIRC...that limited number of times it could go into afterburner. Since it ran at full tilt pretty much it's entire flight time, which burned lots of fuel needless to say, it had to refuel every 90 minutes or so. It used it's entire initial fuel load just to get to 40,000 feet to meet up with the tanker, requiring it to immediately refuel just after take off. That's a lot of refueling. It used JP-7, which is a fuel unique to the SR-71. Every flight required a series of tanker planes to be prepositioned along it's flight path. That's an expensive endeavor just to perform one flight.
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  #22  
Old 01 Feb 18, 04:44
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Quote:
The SR-71 ran in afterburner almost the entire time it was in flight.
Sounds pretty impossible; ran supersonic, yes, but not in reheat.
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Old 01 Feb 18, 05:16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluenose View Post
Sounds pretty impossible; ran supersonic, yes, but not in reheat.
A former pilot of the SR-71 says they stayed in afterburner throughout the mission.

Mentions this @ the 6min mark.

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  #24  
Old 01 Feb 18, 06:42
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Quote:
Mentions this @ the 6min mark.
Hmm, it sounds a bit odd. Fuel usage with reheat is very, very high. He talks about 'cruising on full afterburner when at Mach 3 or greater' but then the pilot 'flying the throttle to keep speed during the mission' so I wonder if AB is used during the critical periods to keep it at its very high speeds because otherwise I do not see how it could hold enough fuel for continuous AB over the whole mission without really frequent tanking
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  #25  
Old 01 Feb 18, 06:48
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All I know is that the afterburner had four spray bars, minimum afterburner used one and a half spray bars(roughly)... full afterburner used all four.
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  #26  
Old 01 Feb 18, 06:53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phil74501 View Post
The SR-71 ran in afterburner almost the entire time it was in flight. They only went subsonic to refuel. The plane had a special ingniter, can't remember what it was called, it used to start the afterburners. It carried only a limited number of cartridges for that igniter...12 IIRC...that limited number of times it could go into afterburner. Since it ran at full tilt pretty much it's entire flight time, which burned lots of fuel needless to say, it had to refuel every 90 minutes or so. It used it's entire initial fuel load just to get to 40,000 feet to meet up with the tanker, requiring it to immediately refuel just after take off. That's a lot of refueling. It used JP-7, which is a fuel unique to the SR-71. Every flight required a series of tanker planes to be prepositioned along it's flight path. That's an expensive endeavor just to perform one flight.
1. Triethyl Borane(TEB).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triethylborane

16 "shots" per engine. One shot per (increased)throttle movement.....see AB's film.

+1 for AB.

2.
Quote:
[.....]After the SR-71 takes off, it has a rendezvous with a KC-135Q tanker seven minutes later. The SR-71 takes off with a very light fuel load and after this refueling, the plane can fly up to 2,500 miles without refueling.
[.....]
https://www.sr-71.org/blackbird/sr-71/
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Last edited by At ease; 01 Feb 18 at 09:30.. Reason: Add Wiki source
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Old 01 Feb 18, 06:58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluenose View Post
Sounds pretty impossible; ran supersonic, yes, but not in reheat.
Cruise fuel usage.....21,000lb per hour per engine.

From AB's film.

Seeing that I could be arsed.....I went looking for confirmation:

from pp132 of

Flying the SR-71 Blackbird: In the Cockpit on a Secret Operational Mission

By Richard H. Graham

(the presenter of the film posted by AB)

Quote:
[.....]
To sustain supersonic cruise speeds, the SR-71 had to remain in afterburner with a correspondingly high rate of fuel consumption.
[.....]
https://books.google.com.au/books?id...20rate&f=false

and from pp165 of

SR-71 Revealed : The Untold Story

By Richard H. Graham(again)

Quote:
[.....]
The SR-71's cruise performance was not like other jet aircraft. In other jets, if you wanted to fly considerably faster, it cost you more fuel to do so. The SR-71 was just the opposite; the faster you flew, the more fuel you saved. For example, the specific range charts show for a standard temperature day temperature(-69 deg F), a 100,000 pound gross-weight SR-71 flying at 3.0 Mach maximum range cruise, has a total fuel flow of 38,000 pounds per hour. Accelerate to 3.15 Mach, and the total fuel flow drops down to 36,000 per hour.
[.....]
https://books.google.com.au/books?id...20rate&f=false

Of course, maximum temperature limits of exterior skin/engine inlet temperature prevented ever increasing speeds.
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Last edited by At ease; 01 Feb 18 at 07:29..
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Old 01 Feb 18, 07:38
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One of the earlier books I was able to read dealing comprehensively with the SR71 from a test pilot's perspective(rather than just peripherally) was:

The Smell of Kerosene: A Test Pilot's Odyssey
Book by Donald L. Mallick and Peter William Merlin

I am pleased to see it is now freely available as a PDF published by NASA:

https://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/...n_kerosene.pdf

see ch 9 Triple Sonic Blackbird

Whenever I go to an airport and am able to walk on the tarmac, I always take a deep breath.

I just love the smell(of burning kerosene).

Well, after all, I am a petrol head, and kerosene is a very close relative of petrol.
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File Type: jpg Mallick.jpg (4.5 KB, 2 views)
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Last edited by At ease; 01 Feb 18 at 09:00.. Reason: add apostrophe & "of burning kerosene"
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  #29  
Old 01 Feb 18, 07:40
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For those interested, this is a good film with Richard Graham.

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  #30  
Old 01 Feb 18, 07:47
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Quote:
Seeing that I could be arsed.....I went looking for confirmation:
Oh dear, still throwing temper-tantrums, I see Feel free to go back to the Spitfire thread and answer the questions that I set you).

Back to the question: I freely admit that I was quite wrong about the SR-71 as I was going on fighter aircraft figures: an F-16 (according to the hallowed F-16.net) gives 297.5 lbs per minute in burner or 10.4 minutes till dry on internal fuel so cruising on even zone 1 AB is totally out of the question. But NASA facts-sheet gives the SR-71 fuel consumption per hour at cruise as 21,000 from a total load of 60-80,000 still gives you 3 -4 hours (ignoring spare, circuit, finding tanker etc.)

I totally did not realise the way the engines worked during high speed cruise:

"Less than 20 percent of the total thrust used to fly at Mach 3 was produced by the engine itself, however. During high-speed cruise conditions the balance of total thrust was produced by the unique design of the engine inlet and a moveable conical spike at the front of each engine nacelle. Under these conditions, air entering the inlets bypassed the engines, going directly to the afterburners and ejector nozzles, thus acting as ramjets."

So yes, totally true it did cruise at Mach 3 on reheat owing to the very special engine configuration
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