First flying in 1964 the amazing Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird is still the world’s highest flying and fastest manned air-breathing aircraft, despite retiring back in 1999. With a top speed in excess of Mach 3 (that’s over 3,500km/h!), the Blackbird could fly higher and faster than even missiles.
Such incredible altitude and speed meant the SR-71 needed to be built from very exotic materials, specifically titanium; which made up 92% of the airframe. The U.S. didn’t have access to titanium itself, so had to source it from the USSR, with which the Blackbird was of course designed to fight during the Cold War. A complicated route via fictitious organisations and third-world economies delivered the newly acquired Soviet titanium ore to the U.S, where it was used to build a plane to spy on the Soviets… isn’t military history fun!
In total thirty two Lockheed SR-71 Blackbirds were constructed, with the final two being used by NASA until the late 1990s. During a long operational life twelve aircraft were lost to accidents, but thanks to the SR-71’s ludicrous speed and primitive radar-defying stealth technology not a single plane was downed by enemy action.
Today the surviving Blackbirds reside in America’s aerospace museums (or at NASA), but we’ve got one more to add to the SR-71 alumni, thanks to Flickr’s Plane Bricks and this awe-inspiring Lego replica of the world’s most spectacular aircraft. Put simply Plane Bricks’ stunning recreation of the SR-71 Blackbird is one of the most complete and impressive Lego aircraft that we’ve ever come across, with a suitably extensive gallery of superb imagery available on Flickr. Click the link in the text above to reach Mach 3.3 and take a look.