postmarked in 2007 with 24 cent Common Buckeye stamp
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The SR-71 was the world's fastest and highest-flying operational manned aircraft throughout its career. On 28 July 1976, an SR-71 broke the world record for its class: an absolute speed record of 1,905.81 knots (2,193.17 mph; 3,529.56 km/h), and an "absolute altitude record" of 85,069 feet (25,929 m). Several aircraft exceeded this altitude in zoom climbs but not in sustained flight.
When the SR-71 was retired in 1990, one example was flown from its birthplace at United States Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, to go on exhibit at what is now the Smithsonian Institution's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (an annex of the National Air & Space Museum) in Chantilly, Virginia. On 6 March 1990, Lt. Col. Ed Yielding and Lt. Col. J. T. Vida piloted the Blackbird, setting a coast-to-coast aircraft speed record: 67 minutes 54 seconds, at an average speed 2,125 miles per hour (3,420 km/h). Three additional records were set within segments of the flight, including an average speed of 2,190 miles per hour (3,520 km/h) measured between the radar gates set up in St. Louis and Cincinnati. These four speed records were accepted by the National Aeronautic Association (NAA), the recognized body for aviation records in the United States.
Here is the plane at the Smithsonian ...
SR-71 and Space Shuttle Enterprise -
Pictured in the foreground is the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest jet-powered aircraft ever built. The Space Shuttle Enterprise is in the background in the James. S. mcDonnell Space Hanger of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. -
Photograph by Dane Penland -
Postmarked in 2007 with USA First -Class 'Liberty Bell Forever' stamp