Testors 1/48 SR-71 Blackbird
Known to pilots with many nicknames ("Sled", "Habu", "SR", "Lady in Black" and, of course, "Blackbird"), with performance that in many aspects still remains unsurpassed today, the SR-71 easily falls into the “Legends of the Skies” category.
It was developed as a top secret military project by Lockheed and its designer Clarence Johnson, with the first flight taking place in 1964.
The high temperatures created by friction in the upper atmosphere during its extended Mach 3+ flights required a range of specially designed materials, including high temperature fuels, sealants, lubricants, wiring and other components.
Ninety-three percent of the aircraft was made of titanium alloy which allowed the aircraft to operate in a mode where temperatures ranged from 450°F (232°C) at its rear middle to 950°F (510°C) near the engine exhaust.
Needless to say the SR-71 became a platform for testing and implementing edge technologies, with many of them said to be classified even today. Those included astro-navigation systems, opto-electronics, IRs, laser sensoring, various data acquisition systems and so on.
A worthy successor did not appear, perhaps obviously not needed, due to the advances of other technologies (satellites and the like).
Nicknamed "ICHIBAN”, the SR-71A s/n 61-17974 was lost on 21 April 1989 over the South China Sea, when, flying at Mach 3+, the port engine disintegrated and shrapnel hit the hydraulic lines, causing a loss of flight controls. Both pilot Lt Col Dan House and RSO Blair Bozek ejected safely and were rescued by native fishermen. This was the last ever Blackbird loss.
This is the venerable Testors kit, definitely superseded by the newest Revell offering, but, still, with some effort, can provide an acceptable result.
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