New York to London England

On September 1, 1974 Major James V. Sullivan, 37 (pilot) and Noel F. Widdifield, 33 (reconnaissance systems officer) (photo inset), flashed across the starting line (radar gates in New York) at approximately 80,000 feet and speed in excess of 2,000 miles per hour. Exactly 1 hour 54 minutes and 56.4 seconds later, they had set a new world speed record from New York to London England. The average speed was 1,817 mph over the 3,488 mile course, slowing to refuel one time from a specially modified KC-135 refueling tanker. The aircraft was placed on static display at Farnborough Air Show for 1 week. It marked the first time the secret plane had been on public display outside of the United States. Clarence L. "Kelly" Johnson (photo inset), the aircrafts designer, was on hand for the event. He remarked, "It (the SR-71) has exceeded all my expectations."

Another historic speed record was set on the return trip to the United States. Capt Harold B. Adams, 31 (pilot), and Major William Machorek, 32 (reconnaissance systems operator), set a speed record from London to Los Angeles. They returned the Blackbird 5,645 miles in 3 hours 47 minutes and 39 seconds for an average speed of 1,480 miles per hour. The difference in the two speed records was due to refueling requirements and having to slow over major US cities. Even so a large number of people in Los Angeles reported broken windows due to the sonic boom.

Certificate of Official Speed Record Presented to Major James V. Sullivan, USAF by the French Federation Aeronautique Internationale, September 01, 1974 Verifying New York to London Speed Record.

National Aeronautic Association Certificate Presented to Major James V. Sullivan, USAF

London to Los Angeles

On September 13, 1974 they returned the Blackbird to Los Angeles, a distance of 5,645 miles in 3 hours 47 minutes and 39 seconds. The average speed was 1,480 miles per hour.

Adams & Machorek

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