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barbados
81708.  Tue Jul 25, 2006 2:42 pm Reply with quote

I'm of a mind to start a thread about Edwards Air Base in California, however half of the interesting stuff about the place is soo bleedin secretive it's very difficult to find any info.

The one thing that did prick my QIness is the Lockheed SR71 which bearing in mind it was developed in the 50's it is still the fastest mode of transport in the world. Travelling at Mach 3.2 (3218.68 kilometers per hour) and a range on one fuelling of just over 2000 mile mean that it would take around 6 hours to complete the flight from it's base in California to London with 5 refuels. It carries no defensive arsenal at all for one reason, it doesn't need it! it can outrun any missile, and outfly even the most advanced aircraft. The testing for the plane was carried out at Edwards, mostly under the cover of darkness and existance was denied for many years. All of the fatalities while flying the plane were Lockheed test pilots, with no military losses.

As I say Edwards is possibley the most interesting place in the U.S (with the exception of Portland) but the should release more information about it

 
Flash
81720.  Tue Jul 25, 2006 4:38 pm Reply with quote

Andy - I'd never heard of that 'plane, but I definitely want one. How come no-one has managed to build anything faster in the intervening 50 years?

Does it refuel in flight? If so, I suppose they have to pre-position the refuelling 'planes, and that part of the exercise would be the effective constraint on its effectiveness?

 
barbados
81741.  Tue Jul 25, 2006 9:14 pm Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
Andy - I'd never heard of that 'plane, but I definitely want one. How come no-one has managed to build anything faster in the intervening 50 years?

All the secrecy worked then ;-) You probabley do know what it is just not by that name. You would know it as "The Blackbird" but just to remind you, it's one of these.
The reason why they haven't made anything faster? With they advent of stealth technology, there is no nee, Although the Americans have denyed the existance of an airliner that fires a sonic boom in front of it, allowing it to fly through a vacuum at around mach10 is usually a good sign thhat it is infact now obselete and they are making somethig better.
Flash wrote:

Does it refuel in flight? If so, I suppose they have to pre-position the refuelling 'planes, and that part of the exercise would be the effective constraint on its effectiveness?

I wouldn't say that, the Americans have air bases all over the world allowing them to send up refuelling planes for it to meet en-route in a similar way you would pull into a service station during a long journey of your own.
I do recall going to an airshow at Mildenhall many years ago where it was to be displayed. It was flying in from America and overshot the country not reaising untill it got to Belgium. By the time the announcer had finished informing us of the delay it was back as if nothing had happened. flying at a ceiling in excess of 80,000 feet, it isn't constrained by noise pollution activists so can fly as fast as it likes all day.

 
grizzly
81752.  Wed Jul 26, 2006 3:42 am Reply with quote

Quote:
The reason why they haven't made anything faster? With they advent of stealth technology, there is no nee, Although the Americans have denyed the existance of an airliner that fires a sonic boom in front of it, allowing it to fly through a vacuum at around mach10 is usually a good sign thhat it is infact now obselete and they are making somethig better.


The blackbird was primarily a serveilance aircraft and the fact that satellites can now do this job perfectly well without any threat to a person (and at relatively lower cost) is supposedly what made it obsolete.

There are those that believe that there is a so called "aurora" plane that has been developed since the 80's. A google of aurora will bring up quite a few hits about the pane (and those trying to spot it).

 
QI Individual
81755.  Wed Jul 26, 2006 3:52 am Reply with quote

It's a fascinating beast. Just about everything about it is extreme. How about the claim that its fuel (JP-7) is more expensive per litre than single malt Whisky? When offered a snifter of JP-7 I know what I'd rather have.

And as for speed. The SR-71 holds the record for flying from New York to London in 1 hour 54 minutes and 56.4 seconds, set on September 1, 1974. (For comparison, commercial Concorde flights took around 3 hours 20 minutes, and the Boeing 747 averages 7 hours.)

If you want to know more about it a good place to start is, as always, Wikipedia.

 
QI Individual
81756.  Wed Jul 26, 2006 3:56 am Reply with quote

I guess that with the use of unmanned drones for observation purposes it's so much cheaper to use those even though they do get shot down.

 
Tas
81758.  Wed Jul 26, 2006 3:59 am Reply with quote

The Blackbird may well be the fastest mode of transport in the world, but it's not the fastest plane....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-43A

Although, I am not sure if a one-shot experimental plane counts!

:-)

Tas

 
Celebaelin
81772.  Wed Jul 26, 2006 4:49 am Reply with quote

From Fastest Duck

(What's the fastest animal?)

Celebaelin wrote:
Humans. But not unassisted. 58338 km/h (unmanned) is NASAs fastest to date. The SR-71 Blackbird (manned) flew at Mach 7 (~8,000 km/h) on March 27 2004.
http://www.wvi.com/~sr71webmaster/sr-71~1.htm

 
Quaintly Ignorant
81773.  Wed Jul 26, 2006 5:43 am Reply with quote

wiki wrote:
X-43D

The X-43D would have been almost identical to the X-43A, but expanding the speed envelope to approximately Mach 15.


I'll take two-dozen.

 
barbados
81788.  Wed Jul 26, 2006 6:30 am Reply with quote

Tas wrote:
The Blackbird may well be the fastest mode of transport in the world, but it's not the fastest plane....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-43A

Although, I am not sure if a one-shot experimental plane counts!

:-)

Tas


I would have to say no, the X 43 is really only a rocket in disguise isn't it? I would think to qualify it would need to be manned.

As grizzly so rightly points out the Aurora project will qualify one day as yet it is in the denial stage so pretty soon it will be obsolete and then it will actually exist,

Of course Lockheed will deny it but reports of a large delta wing craft flying from one of their main testing bases in it's early developement have been given a number of explanations. The main theory behind the conspiricy theorists is the apparent lack of debate over the retirement of the SR-71 and a wall of silence from the Skunk Works (lockheed's development division based at guess where? Edwards Airbase - California).

Back to the airbase. It was formerly known as Muroc airbase until 1949 when it was renamed after the war after one of the most distinguished pilots to have been based at the airfeild; Glen Edwards. It was standard practise in the US to name airfeilds after the states favourite flying son, the one thing wrong with that, Glen Edwards was actually born in Medicine Hat Alberta, although he did spend a large part of his life in Lincoln California, serving with the USAF in WW2, it was then that the name Edwards became associated with high speed in the air, the squadron he was responsible for holds the record for the fastest air combat mission, from take off to landing with barely enough time to make a cup of tea for the return - 19 minutes.
more to follow as it's pieced together

 
Tas
81790.  Wed Jul 26, 2006 6:34 am Reply with quote

Quote:
I would have to say no, the X 43 is really only a rocket in disguise isn't it? I would think to qualify it would need to be manned.


But, it is still a plane, or at least will be, no? The propulsion system hardly matters. Jets and turboprops are legitimate, so why not rocket engines, ramjets, scramjets and any other forms of whizzy oomph making devices?

:-)

Tas

 
barbados
81792.  Wed Jul 26, 2006 6:49 am Reply with quote

Well if you want to be picky with a top speed of 17,580mph the Space Shuttle is virtually untouchable (Mach 23ish)

 
Tas
81794.  Wed Jul 26, 2006 6:54 am Reply with quote

Well, that has disposable booster rockets and is not limited to atmospheric flights, so it is not really an AIRplane, but is a SPACEplane.

See, I can get even pickier (or should that be pedanticker?)

:-)

Tas

 
Tigerman
81801.  Wed Jul 26, 2006 7:49 am Reply with quote

I think we've missed something potentially interesting here.

Quote:
As I say Edwards is possibley the most interesting place in the U.S (with the exception of Portland) but the should release more information about it


Portland.........??

Really.........???

 
barbados
81804.  Wed Jul 26, 2006 8:28 am Reply with quote

Yes Portland is home to the most interesting person in America

 

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