If a Stealth Plane Crashes in the Desert, Does Anyone Notice?

 

tl;dr — On Sept 9, we'll be selling a handful of authenticated pieces of a crashed SR-71 Blackbird, and we'll give our email recipients 24 hours advanced access to the sale.

 

If you aren't familiar, the SR-71 Blackbird is a reconnaissance plane created by the US in the 1960s. It is a supersonic aircraft—which means it can fly faster than the speed of sound. In fact, it has flown greater than 3x the speed of sound, Mach 3.2, and still holds the world record for fastest airplane ever flown.

As if that wasn't impressive enough, the Blackbird is also a stealth plane, designed in a shape specifically difficult to be detected via radar. It was a military plane that didn't need weapons. If it was detected, it could simply fly faster and higher than any other plane in existence.

The list of fascinating details about this aircraft could make this email unbearably long. But ultimately, of the 32 built, the handful that remain (none were destroyed in combat) are now retired and live in museums around the US.

 


 

This is where we come in. We recently met a collector who had a few pieces of one of these rare airplanes that had crashed in the desert of West Texas in 1970.

The story about its demise is a mundane accident during refueling, but after the crew ejected to safety, the aircraft fell from the sky and left a 2-story crater in the desert. 

The government cleaned up the site, but locals at the nearest town about 20 miles away eventually found out about it and explored the site themselves. According to our collector, he was among those visitors to the site and found a few remaining pieces buried in the ground from the force of the impact.

After some healthy skepticism, we were able to verify provenance by identifying various part numbers on parts of the wreckage, piecing together a nearly complete turbine blade of a J58 engine that powered the Blackbird, and the vast amount of titanium in the wreckage (another unique feature of the SR-71 is that is was made almost entirely of expensive titanium!)

 


 

Needless to say, we made a deal to take possession of this collection so that more people could enjoy it.

One of the pieces was a ~1 sqft section of mangled black skin that we cut up into small samples that we included in our most recent Matter subscription box.

The remaining, bulkier pieces we will be selling in individual lots.

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