STILL BREAK­ING RECORDS

SR-71 BLACK­BIRD’S AB­SO­LUTE SPEED RECORD STILL STANDS 40 YEARS LATER

Frequent Flyer Destinations - - VOYAGER -

On July 28, 1976, El­don W. Jo­ersz of­fi­cially be­came the fastest man in the world, when he flew his U.S. Air Force SR71 Black­bird at an as­ton­ish­ing 2,194 mph - a record that still stands to­day.

Fly­ing with Ge­orge Mor­gan as re­con­nais­sance sys­tems officer, Jo­ersz flew 2,193.64 mph over a 25-kilo­me­ter straight-line course 80,600 feet above Ed­wards Air Force Base in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

“I’m hon­ored to help remember this great air­plane and the men who flew her, de­signed her, built her, and those who main­tained and sup­ported her,” said 72-year-old Gen­eral Jo­ersz (re­tired) from his home near Dal­las.

“The vi­sion­ary for these records was Wing Com­man­der John Storrie. And the other guy was Jim Sul­li­van, squadron com­man­der at the time. Jim Sul­li­van was the SR-71 pi­lot that flew New York to Lon­don in 1 hour, 54 min­utes in 1974.”

In 1976 the de­ci­sion was made by Storrie and Sul­li­van to set the world ab­so­lute speed record.

Fly­ing at Mach 3.3, the SR-71’s en­gine tem­per­a­ture ap­proached 427° Cel­sius. Their speed was mea­sured by highly so­phis­ti­cated radar.

Once through the box, they had to turn and com­plete another run through the box at the same al­ti­tude. An av­er­age of the two speeds was taken, and that was the record speed.

“Af­ter we went through the sec­ond time, af­ter a minute or two, con­trol came up and said, ‘Un­of­fi­cially, the record is 2,194 mph’. They knew what it was right away,” Jo­ersz said.

In­side the cock­pit they were elated - al­though a lit­tle dis­ap­pointed they hadn’t gone even faster.

“Our in­for­mal goal be­tween the two of us was for 2,200 mph. So ac­tu­ally, we were qui­etly a lit­tle dis­ap­pointed that we’d missed it by 7 mph!”

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