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March 10, 2008



The SR-71. It looks like it was designed by giving a eight-year old a piece of paper, crayons, and a case of Pixie Stix, and telling him to draw the coolest jet EVER. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!


"The SR-71 was the brainchild of Kelly Johnson, the famed Lockheed designer who created the P-38, the F-104 Starfighter, and the U-2."

That's a goddamn impressive resume.


It totally blows my mind that human beings designed and built that thing long before the advent of CAD, CAM, and CNC. Deus Ex Machina, indeed.


Kelly Johnson's successor, Ben Rich, wrote a book titled "Skunk Works" which detailed some of the goings on in the development of the SR-71 and the F-117. Ben was the thermodynamicist without whose contributions the SR-71 would not have been able to achieve the astonishing power output of the P&W J58 engine.

Ben, like his predecessor, Kelly Johnson, would die of cancer shortly after leaving his position as Director of Lockheed's Skunk Works.

Conspiracy therories anyone?


"Conspiracy therories anyone?"

Nah, I'd guess he just got bored after all that excitement. ;)

Captain Ned

Nah, just the usual disdain for the effects of hazardous materials common to that age.

As amazing as the SR-71 is as a plane even more amazing is the engineering and construction technology behind it, especially in how the Skunk Works conquered titanium as a construction material. I can't wait until they finally unveil Aurora or whatever they call the rumored Mach 5 recon plane.


"Skunk Works" is a great book, full of interesting stuff. Consider that the first stealth airplane, the f-117, was also designed and built without the benefits of computer assisted design. Yay for slide rules!

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