Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Awesome Cockpits [GALLERY]

SHOOT: I'd love to drive one of these monsters.
clipped from
Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

As it screams through the air at three times the speed of sound, this jet needs to keep the air flowing through the engines down around 500 mph. The solution: a retractable cone plus a series of doors and bypasses. Pilots monitor this system on a sub-panel of indicators (lower left) while making sure they hit specific speeds at precise altitudes during ascent and descent. This Cold War-era spy jet, retired in 1998, also collected intelligence on itself, with a sort of proto-black box that captured 200-plus data points every three seconds. “If a pilot screwed up, we could download the tapes and say, ‘OK, buddy, here’s what you did wrong,’” says Rich Graham, a flight instructor and retired SR-71 pilot.

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