Operational costs were high, and they were cannibalizing other airplanes to keep a few flying since replacement parts were really not easily available. Another huge factor was spy satellite technology had advanced to the point that the SR-71 was no longer considered state-of-the-art. Something the pilot on that last flight must have laughed about as he made it from the west coast to the east coast in 68 minutes. Think about that! It was an average speed of 2,124.51 mph.
I used to work near Ellington AFB south of Houston. They have f14s and f16s and frequently scramble them on test and training runs. They did it for real 9/11. The pilots have to keep so many hours of fly time they were very common. They are also an amazing sight especially when they do as Dave described and go nose up. They can fly vertical and disappear in seconds. Once saw a stealth right after take off from Ellington as well. They're not stationed there (that I know if) so it must have been something unusual, re-fueling perhaps on a stop during re-deployment somewhere.
Yes, once, when I was living in Hawaii back in the mid to late 60s! Didn't know what it was until later when a friend stationed at Hickam told me what I had seen/heard! He also commented about their routine - landing and taxiing directly into the hanger and having the hanger doors closing just as it cleared the doors and then leaving the same way.
When I was in the USAF, sitting at my satellite infared scope, I would see the SR-71. Only when it hit it's afterburners. Mostly, flying in northern europe/scandinavia. Back then, the late 80's, the Berlin Wall was still up. When I would see it, I would think, "there you are you sneaky devil". Anyways, I also got to see us shoot down a libyan mig, at least on scope. That was cool, not so cool for the libyan mig pilot. Talking about technology being old. I found out they don't even have my job anymore, they have combined it with something else. They didn't tell me, they probably would of had to kill me. Lil' Lori
Hi ChucksOK, haven't seen you post in a while. Glad you're still OK. I can't believe over 2000mph, talk about a rush. What was the G force? Lil' Lori, bet it didn't stay on your scope very long, blip and she was gone.
I remember being in remote (island in the Bearing Sea) Alaska in the 60's and seeing something high up in the sky heading from Russia toward mainland Alaska at a rate of speed that I could hardly keep up with it on the horizon. Wonder what that was, perhpas a U-2? We were there watching and listening. listening and watching.
I saw AF-1 once, but not the shuttle. I was awoken by the sonic boom that fateful day in 2003 here in Texas. We thought the cats had knocked something down and it woke us up. I went back to sleep but the wife got up and turned on the TV and found what had happened.
I've had the Bell (V-22?) Osprey fly over a few times, both in horizontal and vertical modes. (Bell Helicopter is in our area).
Still love the Ford Tri-motor (Tin Goose) that I flew in once as a kid.
Carnival Breeze - Jan 2013
Carnival Conquest - 2011, Oasis of the Seas B2B - 2011, Carnival Conquest 2010, Carnival Ecstasy - 2010,
Carnival Conquest - 2009, Carnival Ecstasy - 2009, Brilliance of the Seas (Med) - 2008,
Carnival Miracle - 2007, Carnival Conquest - 2006, Rhapsody of the Seas - 2005, Vision of the Seas - 2003,
Rhapsody of the Seas - 2001, Carnival Inspiration - 2000, Carnival Jubilee - 1999
I've had an odd relationship over my life with the Goodyear blimp(s). In 1971, one of the blimps spent a week in my town of Hudson, NY, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of a local Goodyear tire store. It would fly every night with the light board showing ads. The little airport it used was just a couple miles from my house and I'd hang out there during the day watching them service it. I even got a tour of the gondola.
Flash forward 23 years and I'm in Alabama. One day I hear a vaguely familiar droning noise and it's getting louder. I go outside and a Goodyear blimp is flying directly over my house at a "really" low altitude - it was maybe 500 feet. Strange.
We get to see the Guppy fly in to Huntsville every so often. It comes by to pick up space shuttle stuff at the Marshall Space Flight Center. They say it flies great but it sure looks like those engines are small!
I don't want to get into Air Force One! I saw it last year but could care less after the way the Secret Service treated us Browns Ferry employees during Bush's visit to the plant. The prisoners at the Super Max in Colorado have more freedom than we did that day.
I don't ever see the Space Shuttle flying over, but boy do I hear it !
I live in Orlando, Florida where I can hear the twin sonic booms of the Space Shuttle when it comes in for a landing. They sound like two loud, nearly simultaneous explosions from a professional sized firework shell bursting overhead. Maybe just with a little more of the lower bass frequency which rattles any small items in your house like picture frames, small knick-knacks, etc.
When I first heard it, a few years ago, it was around 3AM and I was sound-asleep. It startled me so bad I almost fell-out of bed.
This most recent time, I slept right through it. My mother says she heard the sonic booms around 9AM.