- the aurora project (top secret pulse jet aircraft) does it exist?
Who says Aurora doesn’t exist? The F117A flew for fifteen years before it’s existence was acknowledged. It’s almost certain that a replacement for the Blackbird was already in existence before the SR-71 was withdrawn, because satellite coverage is inadequate for fast changing circumstances when a bird is in an awkward orbit, plus moving satellites is expensive and uses vernier fuel which is not replaceable. There have been far too many reports of odd black unidentified triangular fast moving aircraft up and down the North Sea to write it off as Tin hat speculation. The odd pulsed contrails would lend support, and Groom Lake is no longer used by Lockeed; it was too easy to get to from Vegas, they’ve moved Skunk Works R&D to another lake bed miles from anywhere. There are thousands of miles of absolute bugger-all in Nevada, it’s easy to hide things when the nearest public road’s twenty miles away. The SR-71 wasn’t even a military project in the first place; it was a spook plane flown by CIA pilots and developed with money from hidden budgets. The military got wind of it, got all jealous and demanded involvement. Up to that point nobody had a clue there was a 4-5000 mph spy plane in existence.Posted 7 years ago
The top speed of the SR-71 was never officially stated, it could outrun missiles, which is why the plane shown in flight in that video was dropped. That’s not an SR-71, it’s a YF-12A, a high-speed interceptor. It was far too fast to use, it’s turning circle was measured in tens of miles, and it could out-run it’s own S2A missiles, so it was abandoned.
Ram jet or pulse jet?Posted 7 years ago
I seem to remember reading about their development in Look & Learn in the mid 70s. HOTOL?
Surely the technology to build hyperspeed airplanes is out there, most of the theoretical work was done in the 60s and material advances have been made since then.nickcSubscriber
Up to that point nobody had a clue there was a 4-5000 mph spy plane in existence.
more like mach 3 (about 2000 mph) still impressive though. Bear in mind that the YF12/SR71 project started in the early 60’s just 15 years after the end of WW2, the era of piston engined fighters. You can understand the stories of UFO sightings. I think it suits the US military very well to have these sorts of rumours floating about.Posted 7 years ago
8000mph in atmosphere would get pretty hot, not sure that we have the metals capable of withstanding that and being light enough for airframe use
Depends where in the atmopshere, dunnit.
However I do suspect the amount of fuel required to propel a plane this fast would be prohibitively large even if it were 100% efficient.
And in that vid, he is looking at a con trail on what appears to be a weather satellite image. If con trails were visible on that kind of satellite image then why aren’t there hundreds of them all over it?Posted 7 years agohoodooMember
Maybe the use of microwave energy tuned to excite air molecules which results in a heating/ ionisation effect thus reducing the density of the air that the aircraft is moving through thus allowing it to achieve stunningly high speeds.
That picture at the top looks like something is pulsing. Maybe it is using a microwave heated pulse jet engine.Posted 7 years ago
Lots of fun stuff on herejwtMember
All the records held by the SR71 (Blackbird)such as absolute altitude and speed over a recognised course, were recorded by a standard plane flying a mission profile, its likely it was capable of bettering those feats given any of the planes could at any time have equalled the same times / altitudes. So if the intention was to ‘give it the beans’ it could have gone higher and faster.Posted 7 years ago
As it was developed in the 60’s ,I would be disappointed if technology hadn’t moved on to something faster ,that we, the public at large are mostly unaware of.
Shame its kept under wraps if its as beautiful as an SR71.
Maybe the use of microwave energy tuned to excite air molecules which results in a heating/ ionisation effect thus reducing the density of the air that the aircraft is moving through thus allowing it to achieve stunningly high speeds
Or maybe not 🙂
Microwaves powered by what? In any case even at mach 3 the air coming into a standard jet engine is super hot.Posted 7 years agotoys19Member
Whilst I don’t doubt that some big budgets are being spent on lots of stuff that we don’t know about, and I’m sure all kinds of super machinery is being developed, the donuts on a rope thing is a load of bunkum, I’ve seen contrails like this from normal aircraft and a quick Google shows that others have seen and recorded them.Posted 7 years ago
Other than reconnaisance, what else would be being developed by the US that then wouldn’t go on to be used in the wars they are currently fighting?
I would imagine that, with the US being the only power, it would be in their interest to make sure everyone KNOWS about their top technology to intimidate them. The only reason for keeping it secret was when there was an arms race during the cold war.
And if you already have the world’s fastest reconnaissance plane that can outrun missiles, why would you scrap it and build something faster? My guess is that it’s far cheaper and more operationally expedient to use satellites and drones.Posted 7 years agobreatheeasyMember
I remember some Blackbird pilot on a documentary a few years ago. he pretty much implied the ‘official’ top speed was well off the mark.
Don’t forget, a plane can only outrun missiles if they are behind them. A slow missile coming towards them is gonna make an awful mess of a Blackbird regardless of speed!Posted 7 years ago
Btw I thought most missles went at like mach 5-6?
I suspect the ‘outrunning missiles’ claim is to do with the speed and altitude meaning that a SAM fired from the ground can’t gain enough altitude and cover enough distance from when the plane is in range to be able to meet it.Posted 7 years agobullheartMember
Scramjet technology was supposed to be the next thing…
To get a holistic perspective of the evolution of extreme flight speeds have a look at the latter stages of the X-planes programme run by NASA. Most of their ‘theoretical’ stuff has been built and tested at scale model level, if not full size.Posted 7 years ago
But a technical analysis of pulse detonation wave engines suggests that engines operating at the thrust levels associated with military aircraft would operate between 100 and 200 Hertz (pulses per second). While doppler shifting may reconcile this value with the reported 50-60 Hertz pulsation, it is more difficult to reconcile this with the reports of a 1 Hertz pulsation.
It is also difficult to reconcile a pulse rate of 100-200 Hertz with the observed donut-on-a-rope contrails. The association of these contrails with a PDWE would seem to be predicated on the observation that each “donut” is a product of a single pulse detonation. Based on published photographs, the “donuts” appear to be approximately 100 meters apart. Assuming a detonation pulse rate of 100 Hertz, this would imply a velocity of 10 kilometers per second, roughly Mach 36 which is 1½ times orbital velocity. While it is asserted that the Aurora spyplane is a high-speed vehicle, this is at least four times faster than the speeds normally associated with this aircraft.Posted 7 years agocrazy-legsSubscriber
Don’t forget, a plane can only outrun missiles if they are behind them. A slow missile coming towards them is gonna make an awful mess of a Blackbird regardless of speed!
Missiles need time to think though. A head on shot is very unlikely to work anyway (no engine heat for it to lock onto, minimal radar cross section) so if you’ve got a plane doing Mach 3 and a missile doing Mach 5, the chance of it working in the first place is minimal and even if the missile detects the plane, it’s going to need a huge turn radius and then try and catch up with it.
The stories about the SR-71 make for some great reading. 🙂Posted 7 years agoMing the MercilessSubscriber
Supposedly modern missiles are now designed to explode along side the pilots canopy, normally showering pilot and aircraft with lots of metallic rods.
I watched a program about the Blackbird many years ago, my favourite two stories were the one where whilst high and fast over hostile territory the pilot looked out of the side window to see “what looked like a flaming telegraph pole go past the wing”.
The other one was, whilst over arab lands they got shot at by many missiles and the pilot poured on the coals. So intent on getting away he forgot about the throttle being jammed against the stops and it was only the backseater shouting at him that got him to look at the dials where he saw “some scary mach numbers” and slowed down.Posted 7 years agoGary_CMember
This is an oft quoted text from “The Sled Driver”, a book written by an ex SR-71 pilot:
There were a lot of things we couldn’t do in an SR-71, but we were the fastest guys on the block and loved reminding our fellow aviators of this fact. People often asked us if, because of this fact, it was fun to fly the jet. Fun would not be the first word I would use to describe flying this plane. Intense, maybe. Even cerebral. But there was one day in our Sled experience when we would have to say that it was pure fun to be the fastest guys out there, at least for a moment. It occurred when Walt and I were flying our final training sortie. We needed 100 hours in the jet to complete our training and attain Mission Ready status. Somewhere over Colorado we had passed the century mark. We had made the turn in Arizona and the jet was performing flawlessly. My gauges were wired in the front seat and we were starting to feel pretty good about ourselves, not only because we would soon be flying real missions but because we had gained a great deal of confidence in the plan in the past ten months. Ripping across the barren deserts 80,000 feet below us, I could already see the coast of California from the Arizona border. I was, finally, after many humbling months of simulators and study, ahead of the jet. I was beginning to feel a bit sorry for Walter in the back seat. There he was, with no really good view of the incredible sights before us, tasked with monitoring four different radios. This was good practice for him for when we began flying real missions, when a priority transmission from headquarters could be vital. It had been difficult, too, for me to relinquish control of the radios, as during my entire flying career I had controlled my own transmissions. But it was part of the division of duties in this plane and I had adjusted to it. I still insisted on talking on the radio while were on the ground, however. Walt was so good at many things, but he couldn’t match my expertise at sounding smooth on the radios, a skill that had been honed sharply with years in fighter squadrons where the slightest radio miscue was grounds for beheading. He understood that and allowed me that luxury. Just to get a sense of what Walt had to contend with, I pulled the radio toggle switches and monitored the frequencies along with him. The predominant radio chatter was from Los Angeles Center, far below us, controlling daily traffic in their sector. While they had us on their scope (albeit briefly), we were in uncontrolled airspace and normally would not talk to them unless we needed to descend into their airspace.
We listened as the shaky voice of a lone Cessna pilot asked Center for a readout of his ground speed. Center replied:
November Charlie 175, I’m showing you at ninety knots on the ground.
Now the thing to understand about Center controllers, was that whether they were talking to a rookie pilot in a Cessna, or to Air Force One, they always spoke in the exact same, calm, deep, professional, tone that made one feel important. I referred to it as the “Houston Center voice.” I have always felt that after years of seeing documentaries on this country’s space program and listening to the calm and distinct voice of the Houston controllers, that all other controllers since then wanted to sound like that… and that they basically did. And it didn’t matter what sector of the country we would be flying in, it always seemed like the same guy was talking. Over the years that tone of voice had become somewhat of a comforting sound to pilots everywhere. Conversely, over the years, pilots always wanted to ensure that, when transmitting, they sounded like Chuck Yeager, or at least like John Wayne. Better to die than sound bad on the radios.
Just moments after the Cessna’s inquiry, a Twin Beech piped up on frequency, in a rather superior tone, asking for his groundspeed.
Ah, Twin Beach.
I have you at one hundred and twenty-five knots of ground speed.
Boy, I thought, the Beechcraft really must think he is dazzling his Cessna brethren.
Then out of the blue, a navy F-18 pilot out of NAS Lemoore came up on frequency. You knew right away it was a Navy jock because he sounded very cool on the radios.
Center, Dusty 52 ground speed check
Before Center could reply, I’m thinking to myself, hey, Dusty 52 has a ground speed indicator in that million dollar cockpit, so why is he asking Center for a readout? Then I got it, ol’ Dusty here is making sure that every bug smasher from Mount Whitney to the Mojave knows what true speed is. He’s the fastest dude in the valley today, and he just wants everyone to know how much fun he is having in his new Hornet.
And the reply, always with that same, calm, voice, with more distinct alliteration than emotion:
Dusty 52, Center, we have you at 620 on the ground.
And I thought to myself, is this a ripe situation, or what? As my hand instinctively reached for the mic button, I had to remind myself that Walt was in control of the radios. Still, I thought, it must be done – in mere seconds we’ll be out of the sector and the opportunity will be lost. That Hornet must die, and die now.
I thought about all of our Sim training and how important it was that we developed well as a crew and knew that to jump in on the radios now would destroy the integrity of all that we had worked toward becoming. I was torn. Somewhere, 13 miles above Arizona, there was a pilot screaming inside his space helmet.
Then, I heard it. The click of the mic button from the back seat. That was the very moment that I knew Walter and I had become a crew. Very professionally, and with no emotion, Walter spoke:
Los Angeles Center, Aspen 20, can you give us a ground speed check?
There was no hesitation, and the replay came as if was an everyday request.
Aspen 20, I show you at one thousand eight hundred and forty-two knots, across the ground.
I think it was the forty-two knots that I liked the best, so accurate and proud was Center to deliver that information without hesitation, and you just knew he was smiling. But the precise point at which I knew that Walt and I were going to be really good friends for a long time was when he keyed the mic once again to say, in his most fighter-pilot-like voice:
Ah, Center, much thanks,
We’re showing closer to nineteen hundred on the money.
For a moment Walter was a god. And we finally heard a little crack in the armor of the Houston Center voice, when L.A. came back with,
Roger that Aspen,
Your equipment is probably more accurate than ours.
You boys have a good one.
It all had lasted for just moments, but in that short, memorable sprint across the southwest, the Navy had been flamed, all mortal airplanes on freq were forced to bow before the King of Speed, and more importantly, Walter and I had crossed the threshold of being a crew. A fine day’s work.
We never heard another transmission on that frequency all the way to the coast. For just one day, it truly was fun being the fastest guys out there.Posted 7 years agoUrbanHikerMember
From the official office toilet mag of the month, Top Gear Awards edition 2010, James May’s guide to things chaps should know…
SAM top speed in the region of mach 5. SR-71 top speed in the region of mach 3.2, max altitude of 85,000ft. The missile could easily out run the plane head to head speed. But by the time it reached 80,000ft its run out of fuel.Posted 7 years agoOmar LittleMember
the project that was codenamed Aurora is probably likely to have been related to the B2 bomber. I wonder if the sightings of ‘Aurora’ at the time was also that of the B2 being tested – the B2 still half looks like an alien spaceship despite being public for about 20 years now, can easily see how people who witnessed before it was known about thought it would also have some secret miracle technology.
The US have been testing scramjet and ramjet aircraft – the x-43, x-51 and the falcon or something like that is due for another test flight this year. These tests are still at experimental stages and a fair way to go before they will be testing this sort of technology with a pilot (if they ever do have a pilot) never mind have a secret plane using it in operation service.Posted 7 years ago
Every time I read that Sled tale above, it makes me smile!
Much like the (almost certainly apocryphal) tale Of the US and their U2 over Westminster….Story runs as follows;
USAF feel awfully chuffed that they’ve sneaked over the UK at high altitude and taken a photo of the Houses of Parliament without being detected.
USAF send said photo to MOD, with a slightly gloating tone
MOD reply, “Thanks chaps. Very interesting. However, we think this is far more interesting”, enclosing a photo taken from above, of the same U2 over WestminsterPosted 7 years ago
Love that story that gary _C quoted.
Sled Driver by Brian Shul is a great book, superb photography. I bought a signed copy from the author at an airshow at El Toro, California many years ago. The sled drivers were an elite group of aviators, that’s for sure.
I once found a great website full of similar SR-71 stories, but can’t find it on google at the moment.
I was lucky enough to see a ‘Habu’ fly just once. Happy days.Posted 7 years ago
not just on a rope
we invented the technique of donuts on the neck of a wine bottle
you can get two on and your nose stops them falling off when you swig
some say you can’t buy class……..
…….but you can get Krispy Kreme ring donuts in sparkly pink and purple frostingPosted 7 years ago
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