Lockheed SR-71A 64-17960 head banger by Colin Smedley

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Lockheed SR-71A 64-17960 head banger by 

A Lockheed SR-71 of the 9th RW creates fireballs in the sky as it starts its afterburners at the RAF Mildenhall Air Fete in 1986. The thick, low viscosity, high flashpoint fuel used by the Blackbiord often made it difficult to light the reheat. Here the aicraft came in fast but with power off straight into a hi-g turn causing copious amount of vapour as the vortices wrung out the humid air. Opening the throttles and selecting reheat resulted in unburnt fuel being ejected and vapourised behind the aircraft. This eventually ignited when the afterburners fired resulting in spectacular fireballs. Notice that the two afterburners did not ignite at the same time. This is what causes a “head banger”. The small canopy is only big enough for the pilot’s head and when the ’burners do not ignite together his bone-dome is banged first on one side of the canopy and then the other.

837 views as at 31/7/2014.

My real name is Colin but most people know me as Oscar. I took my first photos in the early 1950s and my favorite subjects are aircraft, natural history, trucks and traction engines. I use Canon EOS cameras and a mix of Canon and Sigma lenses. My website URL is http://www.oscarpix.co.uk

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  • Colin J Williams Photography
    Colin J Willia...over 1 year ago

    This is superb work !! – Colin

  • Thanks Colin!

    – Colin Smedley

  • Edward Denyer
    Edward Denyerover 1 year ago

    Great shot of an awesome machine. – Ted

  • Thanks a lot Ted!

    – Colin Smedley

  • mike  jordan.
    mike jordan.over 1 year ago

    Fantastic shot Colin of an wonderful aircraft…Mike

  • Thanks very much Mike!

    – Colin Smedley

  • Nigel Bangert
    Nigel Bangertover 1 year ago

    Wow, this is an amazing image!

  • Thanks for the comment and thanks again for the favouriting Nigel!

    – Colin Smedley

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