Cracking shot shows SR-71 Blackbird flying on one afterburner only

Shot by Ken Hackman possibly in 1983, this shot shows an SR-71 Blackbird 61-7974 unusually flying with one engine in afterburner and the other either shut down or in mil power, circa 1983.

Blackbird pilots trained for asymmetric thrust conditions and flew practice patterns to manage such unusual situation: indeed, the photo seems to show the left vertical tail deflected to compensate the yaw induced by the lack of thrust from the (right) engine, either flamed out, shut down, or simply idled.


Image credit: Ken Hackman via Code One

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David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.