When the Blackbird made its last flight in 1990, I called Nancy and asked her if she thought we could take Kelly out to the plant for the flyby we had scheduled. We both agreed that we didn’t want any of his old friends to see him in his condition, but rather to remember him the way he was when they last saw him. So we put him into a limo that had dark windows, making the passengers invisible from the outside, and drove him to the Skunk Works. Kelly was not alert that day, and I really was not sure he understood what that ride from the hospital was about.
All the employees from the Skunk Works were standing outside waiting for the overflight. Kelly sat in the car. We had put out the word that he was not feeling well and would not be able to greet anybody. Everyone respected that and they cheered the car’s arrival. Around the time the SR-71 came roaring in over the rooftops and cracked out two massive sonic booms in salute, Nancy had stirred him awake and partially lowered the car window. The booms were as loud as thunderclaps. Kelly looked up, startled. “Kelly, do you know what that was?” I asked. “The pilot was saluting you. We all are saluting you.” He didn’t reply to my question and seemed to be nodding off. But when I looked at Kelly again he had tears in his eyes.
- from Skunk Works, by Ben Rich
- Custom camera 1: cockpit view
- All flight controls are normal
- AG1: Afterburner
- AG2: Enable VTOL system
- AG2 + VTOL up: ascend
- AG2 + VTOL up: descend
AG2 should be enabled only for vertical takeoffs and landings, and kept off during flight.
- Created On Windows
- Wingspan 89.4ft (27.3m)
- Length 164.0ft (50.0m)
- Height 24.8ft (7.6m)
- Empty Weight -4,734,385lbs (-2,147,483kg)
- Loaded Weight 100,525lbs (45,597kg)
- Power/Weight Ratio 5.164
- Wing Loading 10.3lbs/ft2 (50.4kg/m2)
- Wing Area 9,730.6ft2 (904.0m2)
- Drag Points 40451
- Number of Parts 740
- Control Surfaces 2