The fastest and highest flying jet aircraft that still operated within the Earth’s atmosphere is the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird.
Fighter jets are pretty fast these days.
But the fastest and highest flying jet aircraft that still operated within the Earth’s atmosphere is the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird.
It was used by the United States Air Force from the mid 1960s until 1989.
The Blackbird could outrun missiles aimed at it, and reached speeds up to mach 3, which is so fast that the airframe of the ship heated up and enlarged during flight.
In theory, it could have reached speeds of up to mach 6.
It flew across the continental United States in 64 minutes.
When it was in operation, only 86 pilots flew the Blackbird on reconnaissance missions.
The pilots had to wear pressure suits, because of the extreme altitude between 70 to 85 thousand feet where the Blackbird would fly.
Missions undertaken by the Blackbird include photographing military installations in many countries like China, Egypt, North Korea and the Arctic Circle.
The Blackbird had top of the line stealth features, and was virtually undetectable by radar.