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SR-71 starter motors.....

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Lee Martin, Jul 31, 2008.

  1. GassersGarage
    Joined: Jul 1, 2007
    Posts: 4,729


    My father hauled the engines for the SR-71.
  2. 1952henry
    Joined: Jan 8, 2006
    Posts: 763



    Direct from the aircraft museum in Mcminnville, Or. It houses an SR-71, and the Spruce Goose.
  3. Doc;not to disagree but I think you may be referring to the incident where President Lyndon Johnson inadvertantly revealed the very existence of the plane by referring to it as an A-11 rather than the A-12 as the original prototypes were called.That info was obtained from the Osprey Combat Aircraft Series called,"American Spyplanes published in the UK in 1986.
    Whatever the case this thread is neat.
  4. I am aware of that too, this is a different story. Before I posted I made sure my info was correct.
  5. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,583


    I read about the pen incident in a book on the Blackbird. Caused problems till they figured out someone was marking on the skin during manufacture. My dad was in Thailand in the late 60-early 70 era, said an SR made an emergency landing. Had to bring all kinds of support specific to the plane, one piece was the start cart. I think they were Olds engines, he said they had stickers on the valve covers that said (I think) Harry's Hot Rod Shop in So. Cal.
  6. Doc:I hereby offer my apologies.Upon reading(or should I say re-reading)further along in this book,it states the following:

    "The final development of the Blackbird family was the with which we are the most familiar;namely the SR-71 although even here the designation has become fudged for it should have been the RS-71,following on from the proposed RS-70 reconnaissance variant of the tri-sonic Valkyrie bomber.Unfortunately President Johnson referred to it as the SR-71 in July of 1964 and one does not presumably argue with Johnsons;be they either President or Kelly".
  7. Thank you, thumbs up for actualy looking it up!
  8. Lotek_Racing
    Joined: Sep 6, 2006
    Posts: 690


    The book I have on the development of the SR-71 (written by Rich and Johnson) mentions these start carts.

    Apparently they spun up the engines with a driveshaft coming from the power car into the bottom of the engine.

    Book says Mickey Thompson built the engines for the power carts.

    Also, on the 455, remember the nailheads had their designation on the air cleaner in torque output, not displacement. I can see how people might think it was a 455.

  9. hlfuzzball
    Joined: Jan 27, 2005
    Posts: 215

    from Michigan

    These starter carts were built by Arlen Kurtis, son of Frank Kurtis of race car fame. They are mentioned in the few books published about Frank Kurtis Racing Cars.

  10. Von Rigg Fink
    Joined: Jun 11, 2007
    Posts: 13,428

    Von Rigg Fink
    from Garage

    Wow and on this thread another good reason to run a Chevy engine in your hot rod;):cool::D
  11. Silent_Orchestra
    Joined: Jun 17, 2007
    Posts: 1,313

    from Omaha, NE

    That starter cart is sweet...They've got an SR-71 (or for Doc an RS-71) Hanging from the ceiling at the SAC mueseum in Ashland, NE...It's pretty sweet! I don't think they have a starter cart there though....
  12. ka-zoo
    Joined: Oct 20, 2004
    Posts: 509


    Just found this thread, neat.

    In our local air museum, the Kalamazoo Airzoo. they have the only SR-71B, trainer plane in existence. you can walk under and touch its wings. super cool plane.
    I never had an inkiling of how HUGE that thing really was until seeing it in person.
  13. As I Motor Pool Supply NCO in the Air Force in the early 70s I remember some AGE (Aerospace Ground Equipment) such as generators also used Lincoln 317 V8s.
  14. VonMoldy
    Joined: May 23, 2005
    Posts: 1,555

    from UTARRGH!

    I got a picture of that at the Air Museum at Hill AFB! I was thinking about posting that but never did. The thing that struck me when I first saw those, was They have this multimillion dollar spy plane built with the most advanced technology of the time and they are starting the thing with a box full of nail
  15. A quote from "Sled Driver" written by a former SR-71 pilot "We crossed Nebraska in about 8 minutes today. I think that's the best way to see Nebraska."

    Maybe some of you can confirm, but from what i've read, these things didn't have internal fuel tanks - the skin of the plane acted as the outer surface of the tank. As such, they leaked like a sieve when sitting on the ground and until they got "up to temp" when thermal expansion sealed the joints in the skin!

    Think about one (or more!) of those big Pratt and Whitney J58's in an LSR car! Or did Thrust SSR use those?
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2008
  16. Appleseed
    Joined: Feb 21, 2005
    Posts: 1,053


    If you what to here it go here:

    These guys record airplane sounds. Mostly WWII stuff, but they do have "Supersonics." Yes, you'll hear the start carts. When this was recorded, I belive they had switched to 454s. Awesome sound.
  17. Appleseed
    Joined: Feb 21, 2005
    Posts: 1,053


    Intergal fuel tanks are not uniqe to the SR. You'd need TEB (tetraethylborate, I think) to start the J-58s. Its a chemical reaction. Thats whet accounts for the green exhaust on start up.

    You can throw matches at JP-7 all day and not have it light.

    Did you know that the J-58 started out as a Navy engine, hence the even number?
  18. I think the plane at the Air Force Museum (Wright-Patterson AFB) is a prototype - it was marked as a "Y-12A" ? They told me they had to run a mill file down the leading edge of the wings to keep curious passers-by from cutting themselves on the edges. Used to be located in the "storage hanger" across from the new museum buildings.

    Just think - it was a "state of the art" aircraft in 1965 - what do you suppose a new one looks like?
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2008
  19. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 5,325


    Am I the only one who thinks that it is remarkable that two of the greatest planes ever built (the SR-71 and the B-52) were designed 50 years ago? Where the heck is progress? You would think that in this computer and "microization" age, they would have come up with somethig a lot better. Has progress stopped or have we come to a point where anything better is just too expensive? I was amazed when they used B-52's in Viet Nam, but then in Desert Storm and Iraq? Has progress stopped? Maybe I'm right filling my shop storage with flatheads, early hemi's and Olds Rockets.:)
  20. Lotek_Racing
    Joined: Sep 6, 2006
    Posts: 690


    The SR-71 also use the fuel as hydraulic fluid and coolant.

  21. VonMoldy
    Joined: May 23, 2005
    Posts: 1,555

    from UTARRGH!

    Have you ever heard of the F-35 or F-22? Or what about the Predator UAV?
  22. txtom
    Joined: Sep 23, 2008
    Posts: 39


    Anyone going near Mobile, Alabama can see an SR-71 starter with the twin nailheads on display at the USS Alabama. The particular airplane it is next to is one of the A-12's, serial number 60-6938, which flew a total of 197 flights, 369.5 total hours.

    That is correct, it is a YF-12A, 60-6935, and was the second of the three YF-12A airframes built. The third one (6936) was lost in a crash at Edwards in 1971. The first one (6934) was seriously damaged in a landing accident at Edwards in 1966, and oddly enough, the back half of this airframe was mated to the front half of the SR-71 static test article, and the result became the lone SR-71C, 64-17981. This aircraft is at Hill Air Base in Utah.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2008
  23. Appleseed
    Joined: Feb 21, 2005
    Posts: 1,053


    And the oil is a soild at room temp!

    Funny story about the YF-12;

    The 12 had a very large powerfull radar. The maintainace crews were repeatedly told to stay away from the nose cone while the dish was on. After a few weeks of them not listening, the radars project manager called all the ground crews to the front of the plane. There they had set up a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood about 10 feet in front of the dish. They fliped on the radar and after a minute or two, the wood blackend and burst into flames. The radar waves were that powerful. The ground crews didn't screw around after that.
  24. Locomotive Breath
    Joined: Feb 1, 2007
    Posts: 711

    Locomotive Breath
    from Texas

    I seem to remember hearing on the History Channel the YF was originally intended to be a fighter interceptor but was so fast it was capable of outrunning the bullets it was firing.
  25. This is the point where a gearhead says......WOW! and FUCK!!!!
  26. I wonder if that oil would help keep the compression in a tired motor? LOL

    Guy I worked with used to be in the Navy as a radar tech...he was up on the mast of a destroyer doing maintenance one day when a guy pulsed it on as a joke. Happened to hit a seagull with the pulse, which went from "rare" to "well done" in nothing flat and splattered on the deck of the ship!
  27. in response to "how do you start an sr-71"

    turn the ignition key on and press down on the gas pedal...

    i know they stoped the stomp start in 60 but still....
  28. Doy any of you know who was awarded the government contract to build the starter carts? None other than Kurtis Kraft. They were built in Frank Kurtis' little race car shop in Glendale, Ca. Frank's son, Arlen, headed the project, and wired every one of them. I once saw the wiring diagram. It looked like a map of every road in the world. In the late 60's I heard one when Arlen test fired it. Sounded awesome. At that time the nailheads were the only engine that would deliver the torque needed. In the 80's Arlen still had a contract to rebuild the carts. He converted them to 454 BBC engines, and completely replaced the wiring. I saw a new wiring harness laid out on the floor of his shop in Bakersfield. At that point I realized just how sharp Arlen actually is!

    There's a little Wednesday history lesson for you.
  29. Stroked
    Joined: Oct 11, 2005
    Posts: 388

    from DFW, TX

    Actually, DocWatson is correct.

    It's Ben Rich ;)

    Skunkworks is a GREAT book.
  30. Ebbsspeed
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 5,260


    Last edited: Oct 2, 2008

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