Own and display an authentic piece of flown titanium from SR-71 Blackbird 'Super Skater' (s/n 61-7970) - paired in this wall-hanging display (9 x 12-inches) with original artwork of this aircraft by aviation artist Ron Cole, signed & numbered.
These pieces of flown titanium (each roughly 2.5 x 1.5-inches) are not just plain cut rectangles or ovals of this rare material. Each of these limited edition displays is adorned with a selected piece of metal that includes rivets, layered panels, or other distinctive elements from when this Blackbird was built in the legendary Lockheed Skunkworks factory in Palmdale, California. Some of these parts are even etched with the Skunkworks special Advanced Development Project (ADP) mark (see photos)! Many pieces show heat discoloration from having been flown at over Mach 3.
The SR-71 Blackbird entered service with the United States Air Force in 1964, and began development in 1958. It remains the fastest aircraft ever built. Over 90% of the SR-71 was made of titanium, a rare material at that time. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was tasked to obtain titanium from the world’s most plentiful source - the Soviet Union, the country which the SR-71 was being built to spy on. Through shell companies, the CIA purchased material through Third World countries, and shipped the raw ore to the United States for processing and SR-71 production.
This aircraft was lost on 17 June 1970 following a re-fueling collision with a KC-135Q (59-1474) tanker. Lt. Col. Buddy L. Brown and his RSO Maj. Mortimer J. Jarvis both ejected and survived the crash. The KC-135 made it back to Beale AFB, California with a damaged refueling boom and aft fuselage. Super Skater crashed into the desert. These pieces were recovered from the crash site in June 2013 by Zane Harwell, from whom these parts were directly obtained. The vast majority of the aircraft was removed from the site by the government in 1970, but these few pieces of wreckage remained.
Signed & numbered by the artist.
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