With only 32 built and being retire from service for the USAF in 1998 and NASA in ’99, the strategic reconnaissance (spy) aircraft, the SR-71 was never shot down. Not even once. The way the US government got the Titanium to build it is astonishing, too.
The SR-71 was a top-secret project. After the Soviet Union shot down an American spy plane, the US President Lyndon Johnson realized they needed a better reconnaissance aircraft asked Lockheed to make one that could never get shot down. The SR-71. Lyndon Johnson only admit it was a real thing until six months after its first flight.
To get the Titanium, a Soviet company sold Titanium Alloy to the USA, not knowing that they were donating the enemy materials for their spy plane that the Soviet’s Surface-to-Air missals were hopeless at shooting down, for the SR-71 could fly up to 25 km above sea level. That’s a quarter of the way to the internationally accepted point where “space” begins. That’s also high enough to see the curvature of the Earth!
In pictures of the SR-71 Blackbird, you can see a few differences in the planes. Some have a second, raised cockpit for flight instructors, I think. Also, some or all of the Blackbirds had drones on the back to send out to take pictures, as well.
Armed with all kinds of cameras and sensors, and the black paint used on the SR-71 filled with radar absorbing iron, along with a futuristic design makes the Blackbird difficult to detect, and by far the best plane of its time. I really want to see one at the Seattle Museum of Flight! Hint to parents, I wanna go there…