The SR-71 remains the world's fastest and highest-flying production aircraft, capable of Mach 3+ at altitudes of over 85,000 feet. In flight the titanium skin is heated to 500°C and expands by 15cm. The fuselage has longtitudinal creases to absorb this heat expansion but unsealed tanks leak fuel while on the ground. The Pratt & Whitney J-58 enigines start flight as turbojets, then become ramjets above Mach 1.6, requiring a steep dive due to anaemic low speed peformance. The SR-71's JP-7 fuel is used as a coolant and lubricant during flight, and contains caesium to mask the radar signature of the exhaust plume.
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