July 27-28 1976
In July of 1976, the United States set out to regain world speed and altitude records, some previously held by the Soviets in their Mig-25 Foxbat. These SR-71 Record Flights could have been flown at any time the Blackbirds were operational, however security classifications prevented previous attempts. Senator Barry Goldwater (R/Arizona) was instrumental in revealing to the World some of the capabilities of the SR-71. The three sorties were flown by SR-71 Crews of the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Beale AFB in California. It should be noted that the Blackbird routinely flew operationally at these altitudes and speeds and that they do not reflect the full capabilities of the aircraft. Certainly, the SR-71 and the Blackbird "Habu" crews that flew these remarkable aircraft are in a class of one.
Altitude in Horizontal Flight: 85,135, SR-71A. World Absolute and World
Class Altitude Record for Horizontal Flight - 85,135 feet, surpassing the previous record of 80,257
feet set by a Lockheed YF12A in June of 1965.
SR-71 flown by Capt Robert C. Helt, Pilot and Major Larry A. Elliott, RSO.
Speed Over a Straight Course (15-25km): 2,193.167 mph
SR-71A. World Absolute and World Class
Speed Record over a 15/25 Kilometer Straight Course - 2,193.167 MPH surpassing the previous
record set by a Lockheed YF12A Interceptor prototype in June 1965.
SR-71 Flown by Capt. Eldon W. Joersz, Pilot and Major George T. Morgan Jr., RSO
(Two Records Set)
World Absolute Closed Circuit Speed Record over a 1000
Kilometer Course 2,092 MPH, surpassing the previous Absolute Speed Record
of 1853 MPH and the World Class Speed Record of 1815 MPH set by a Russian
Mig-25 Foxbat in October, 1967.
SR-71 flown by Major Adolphus H. Bledsoe, Jr., Pilot and Major John T. Fuller, RSO.
(The SR-71 is a Class C-1 Group III jet engine aircraft, same as the Mig-25 Foxbat)
flying the above record setting flights were awarded the De La Vaulx medal
by the French. The De La Vaulx medal was created in 1933 to honor Comte
De La Vaulx. Founder and past president of FAI (French Aeronautique Internationale),
Comte De La Vaulx was killed in an air accident while on a mission for
the Federation. The medal is awarded to individuals for establishing absolute
world records for highest performance without regard to size of aircraft
or powerplant. FAI is the governing body for official world aircraft records.
"Desert Trek" Speed Record was set by Crew Bledsoe and Fuller on 27 July 1976. Record is for Speed-1000Km Closed Course. Speed was set at 2092.294 MPH.
"High Flight" Altitude Record was set by Crew Helt and Elliott on 28 July 1976. Record is for Altitude in Horizontal Flight. Altitude was set at 85,135 feet.
"Fast Flight" Speed Record was set by Crew Morgan and Joersz on 28 July 1976. Speed Record over a 15/25 Kilometer Straight Course - 2,193.167 MPH
The Six Crewmembers that set the World Speed Records on 27 & 28 July 1976
Crewmembers Helt and Elliott receive their Blackbird Model for the "High Flight" Record of 85,135 feet. 28 July 1976
SR-71 RSO Morgan receives Blackbird Model after Setting "Fast Flight" record of 2,193 MPH.
Crewmembers Morgan and Joersz after "Fast Flight" sortie. Beale AFB 28 July 1976.
"Fast Flight" taxi in at Beale AFB 28 July 1976. Crew Morgan and Joersz.
Record Setters are congratulated by the Wing Commander. Kelly Johnson is 6th from right.
Crewmembers Joersz and Morgan deplane after "Fast Flight" 28 July 1976.
Crews receive Congratulations on Record Flights. Crewmembers Helt and Elliott on the right. SR-71 #958
Crews and family members. Photo taken after "High Flight". Pilot Helt is in the black pressure suit.
Crewmembers Joersz and Morgan after "Fast Flight" sortie. 28 July 1976.
Crewmembers Joersz and Morgan congratulate each other after "Fast Flight". 28 July 1976.
Pilot Helt after "High Flight" sortie. 28 July 1976.
Major G.T.Morgan after "Fast Flight" sortie. 28 July 1976.
Pilot Joersz and RSO Morgan after "Fast Flight" sortie. 28July 1976.
SR-71 pilots of the 1976 World Record Flights was named recipients of the De La Vaulx medal. September 09, 1977
Desert Trek, Fast Flight and High Flight routes flown on 27/28 July 1976
"Fast Flight" route flown on 28 July 1976
"High Flight" route flown on 28 July 1976
"Desert Trek" flight route flown on 27 July 1976
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