2021 Bentley GT Mulliner Convertible, The Most Gorgeous Convertible !

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The signature craftmanship of Bentley Mulliner is apparent throughout this consummate vehicle, with a level of detail that has the power to surprise and delight. From mood lighting and illuminated sill plates that bear the Mulliner name, to hand-stitched headrests, embroidered with the distinctive accent colour of your chosen interior colourway, every inch is luxuriously refined and considered. This is echoed in the 3-colour, handcrafted presentation box which houses the keys to your car upon purchase in two leather key pouches– a memorable keepsake.

The Continental GT Mulliner‘s agile V8 engine featuring the emotive Bentley burble, can reach 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds (0 to 100 km/h in 4.0 seconds) before powering on to a top speed of 198 mph (318 km/h). Expect effortless handling and smooth acceleration in any environment. 

Lancia Delta Is Back From The Dead In 2026!

But as you can probably guess, it’ll be an EV.

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Earlier this year, we got wind that Stellantis may finally put some action into saving the legendary Lancia brand, and why not? The company has some truly iconic cars in its archives, including the inimitable Stratos and the breathtaking 037. Sadly, the closest we’ve come to seeing the revival of these uber cool names has been from third-party tuners and designers, but now we finally have the glorious news we’ve been wishing for: Lancia has confirmed that it will be resurrecting the brand’s most well-known car, the Delta. The news comes via Corriere della Sera, an Italian publication that recently had an interview with Lancia’s new CEO Luca Napolitano.

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In the interview, Napolitano says that everyone at Lancia is aware of the love people have for the Delta: “Everyone wants the Delta and it cannot be missing from our plans. It will return and it will be a true Delta: an exciting car, a manifesto of progress and technology. And of course, it will be electric.” Details are scant, but Corriere della Sera speculates that we’ll see a platform that can offer up to 435 miles of range off a single charge. This will likely be completed in 2026 when Lancia will sell only pure-electric vehicles. That means that its current offering in Italy, an obscure car called the Ypsilon, will be replaced in 2024 as the last combustion-powered Lancia.

While it may be disappointing that the revived Delta won’t be a turbocharged, AWD rival to the likes of the Volkswagen Golf R, Napolitano says that electrification makes sense for the brand. “We will build cars with a great sense of responsibility towards the world we live in, as our customers want a clean drive, and the revolution towards pure electric is in line with our tradition of great technological innovation,” says the CEO. To help the brand achieve its goals, it will reportedly be aiming to launch a new dealership network from scratch in Europe, with the cooperation of the existing Alfa Romeo and DS dealers. There’s no word on whether to expect the new Delta to be sold in the US, but if the brand manages to successfully revive itself in Europe, other markets will surely be on the cards in due time.

The $1m+, fully electric Aston Martin DB6

Lunaz electric Aston Martin DB6 Top Gear 2021

No, it’s not Bond’s Aston but do pay attention, because it is quite gorgeous. It is a fully restored Aston Martin DB6, filled with dreams, potential questions from surprised onlookers and a fair whack of electricity.

That’s right, Aston’s venerable 4.0-litre sixer has been relegated in favour of British engineering company Lunaz’s “proprietary modular electric powertrain”, developed in-house using Euro battery cells and motors. This is the same Lunaz that built an entirely delectable Bentley S1 and got investment from one Mr David Beckham.

The DB6 marks the completion of Lunaz’s desire to Electrify The Cool British Classics; we’ve seen that Bentley, a simply majestic Rolls-Royce Phantom V, and now there’s this. Back in 2015, we got a ‘holy trinity’ of LaFerrari, 918 and P1. In 2021, electrified classics. Sign o’ the times indeed.

As with anything Lunaz undertakes, the DB6 is inspected, weighed and measured, after which its engine and associated paraphernalia are “sensitively removed” and stored. The entire car is 3D-scanned and then stripped to its base metal underpinnings and reshaped “entirely in the client’s image”; that is to say, anything the client wants, the client gets.

As long as it’s electric, of course. The DB6’s powertrain has been specifically programmed by Lunaz to allow for “brisk initial acceleration with the requirements of a classic car that is very much built in the mode of a Grand Tourer”. It reckons on a range of around 255 miles, which is probably more than most DB6s cover in a year.

Lunaz electric Aston Martin DB6 Top Gear 2021
Lunaz electric Aston Martin DB6 Top Gear 2021

As you’d expect, the brakes, suspension and steering have all been “uprated”, while there’s air conditioning, wifi, sat nav and modern infotainment options. Indeed, other creative ideas are welcomed; Lunaz design director Jen Holloway said: “We are proud to introduce the quintessential British GT, remastered for a new generation.”

She used to work as a lead in Aston Martin’s Q-Branch, so there’s star-quality pedigree in customisation right there. You can go traditional, or contemporary, including recycled textiles and so forth. Maybe even some oil slicks or a bullet-proof windscreen if you ask nicely enough, though we wouldn’t hold our breath on headlight-mounted miniguns…

Speaking of which, Lunaz has confirmed that while it intends on building this DB6 for around $1m plus local taxes (with deliveries scheduled for 2023) it will also electrify, strictly upon application, an Aston Martin DB4… and an Aston Martin DB5. As 007 said in Goldfinger, ‘shocking, positively shocking’.

Lunaz electric Aston Martin DB6 Top Gear 2021

The Gorgeous EVO37 Lancia Tribute Car Exudes Perfection

Kimera Automobili will only produce 37 examples.

Kimera Automobili EVO37 Lancia Tribute Car

Italian automotive design firm Kimera Automobili just revealed the EVO37, a tribute car to the legendary Lancia 037 of 1980s rally racing fame. The EVO37 is a reimagined modern version of the cult-status 037, the last rear-wheel-drive rally car to win a championship title in the World Rally Championship (WRC).

Kimera Automobili EVO37 Lancia Tribute Car 01

Developed as part of the FIA Group B homologation rules, the Martini Racing team drove the Lancia 037 in WRC races from 1982 to 1986. A supercharged 2.0-liter inline-four mated to a ZF-sourced five-speed manual transmission propelled the 037 through the tough terrain that marks WRC racing. The Abarth and Pininfarina-designed rally car’s little four-pot generated 205 hp and 165 lb-ft of torque, which helped it win several victories during its rally racing run. The four-wheel-drive Lancia Delta S4 would later replace the iconic 037.

Renowned engineer Claudio Lombardi, responsible for the Delta S4 engine, helped develop the powertrain of the EVO37. Re-engineered by Italtecnica under the direction of Lombardi, the new car’s reworked turbo-four produces 505 hp and approximately 406 lb-ft of torque. Power goes to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual or a six-speed sequential transmission.

Kimera Automobili EVO37 Lancia Tribute Car 03

The gritty and gorgeous EVO37 exudes perfection. This restomod was built from the ground up using a central cage based on the Lancia Beta Montecarlo. The vibrant red EVO37 maintains the exterior lines and shapes of the original 037. It comes fitted with rally-inspired wheels wrapped in Pirelli rubber, as well as Brembo brakes, adjustable Öhlins shock absorbers, and carbon-fiber body panels. The EVO37 has a completely overhauled interior, too, and it comes fitted with carbon-fiber trim, leather and Alcantara upholstery, and Delta S4-inspired sport seats, which are lined in either leather or Alcantara.

Kimera Automobili will only produce 37 examples of this muscularly sculpted work of art, of which 11 have already sold. Plan on spending at least €480,000 (about $586,100 at current exchange rates) to call one of these machines your own. The EVO37 will make its official debut at the 2021 Goodwood Festival of Speed in July.

Hyperion’s Insane New Hydrogen-Powered Supercar.

Developed with ex-NASA engineers and current space technologies, the XP-1 also offers a blistering sub-3-second sprint to 60 mph and has a 1,000-Mile Range—and Can Recharge in 5 Minutes

The Hyperion XP-1 hydrogen-powered supercar.Photo: Courtesy of Hyperion Companies, Inc.

In the United States, plug-in electric vehicles account for just less than 2 percent of all vehicles running on roads, but Southern California–based Hyperion Companies, Inc., and its Hyperion Motors division, is banking on cutting-edge, space-grade hydrogen fuel-cell technology to help consumers embrace the electric car market with much more vigor. Hyperion’s first salvo in the battle against combustion is the XP-1 prototype—a futuristic supercar with a claimed 1,016-mile range and the ability to haul to 60 mph in 2.2 seconds. Oh, and the recharge time is less than five minutes. The Hyperion XP-1 hydrogen-powered supercar.

The Hyperion XP-1 prototype. Photo: Courtesy of Hyperion Companies.

Skeptics of the XP-1’s performance promises should consider three crucial factors: Hyperion was founded nearly a decade ago by a team of PhDs exclusively focused on hydrogen-based power and delivery, and Hyperion works in conjunction with NASA to utilize technologies developed for space travel in commercial applications. Lastly, the organizers of the 24 Hours of Le Mans are planning to add a hydrogen-powered class by 2024, signaling that the element may play a vital part in the future of motorsports. 

“Our vehicle represents the answer to ‘why hydrogen?’” says Angelo Kafantaris, Hyperion’s CEO. “It’s a no-compromise car that represents the best that hydrogen fuel-cell technology can be. Hydrogen is the cleanest, most sustainable energy source that’s not been properly utilized.”

The Hyperion XP-1 hydrogen-powered supercar.

The hydrogen-powered car will reportedly have a top speed of more than 221 mph. Photo: Courtesy of Hyperion Companies, Inc.

For those who glazed over during chemistry class in high school, hydrogen molecules can unleash heaps of electrical power after a chemical reaction breaks them apart. That electrical energy can be stored in fuel cells in lieu of lithium-ion batteries, which are beyond heavy, require lengthy charging times, degrade over the lifecycle and can be expensive to recycle. 

“We can store more energy, for the weight, than a battery-electric vehicle,” Kafantaris shares, “all while extending range and shortening refueling time.” Kafantaris, who holds a transportation design degree, understands that the experience of owning and driving a hydrogen-powered car must be identical to our current vehicular norms, and so he is hyper-focused on reducing pain points for those making the switch. “I’ve been driving hydrogen for five years and it’s identical to gas, with refueling. Very quick,” he says. 

The Hyperion XP-1 hydrogen-powered supercar.

Power comes from two permanently excited motors mounted in the rear. Photo: Courtesy of Hyperion Companies, Inc.

Among the larger hurdles to mass hydrogen acceptance is a lack of low-cost hydrogen fuel stations and the current inability to provide home fueling, for those used to plug-in electric vehicles. “It will take time to get the infrastructure right, but we want to give you all the benefits of clean fuel without any tradeoffs. The benefit here won’t be matching gas vehicles; it’ll be exceeding them,” Kafantaris says. To help educate consumers about those benefits, and showcase them, his team—including a cadre of ex-NASA engineers—worked for more than eight years to bring the XP-1 prototype to fruition.

The Hyperion XP-1 hydrogen-powered supercar.

Only 300 examples of the XP-1 will be made. Photo: Courtesy of Hyperion Companies, Inc.

“It’s the ultimate sports car,” he says. “It’s got all the right tick boxes: speed, excitement and range.” Powered by twin permanently excited motors (both mounted in the rear), the XP-1 is all-wheel drive, with a 55 percent weight-bias towards the back and a top speed of more than 221 mph. Part of the car’s blistering speed is due to its carbon-fiber monocoque anchoring a chassis surrounded with aluminum and titanium components. The result is a car with a curb weight of less than 2,275 pounds.

Unlike battery-electric vehicles, which require constant temperature regulation to realize maximum performance, the XP-1’s hydrogen storage system is unaffected by the thermometer’s readout and is capable of peak performance while repeatedly turning competitive laps on a track or during prolonged, impassioned road outings. Those wraparound buttresses pull double-duty as active aerodynamic elements that bolster cornering at higher speeds but also act as solar panels that can actuate and move to better align with the sun. 

The Hyperion XP-1 hydrogen-powered supercar.

First deliveries of the XP-1 are planned for early 2022. Photo: Courtesy of Hyperion Companies, Inc.

Only 300 examples of the XP-1 will be made, but pricing and select power-train specs have yet to be announced. “With the XP-1, we’ll be inspiring first and then explaining how we’ll bring hydrogen mainstream,” notes Kafantaris.  A lot can happen between prototype and production but, if all goes to plan, future models—with various body styles—are in the Hyperion product road map.  

Could the new Vespa scooter concept reimagine the classic scooter as a modern battery-powered ride?

The gas-guzzling engine of yore has been replaced by a 30 aH lithium-ion battery.

It takes a lot of guts to mess with a bellissimo Vespa. The iconic scooter, which was designed by Corradino D’Ascanio and released by Piaggio in 1946, is beloved the world over. In fact, more than 16 million Vespas have been made to-date and garnered one helluva loyal fanbase. But, that hasn’t stopped one India-based design firm from penning a disruptive new take.

Mightyseed’s electrifying concept reimagines the classic scooter as a modern battery-powered ride. Like its muse, the “Vespa 98” still has a simple silhouette, step-through frame and artfully concealed mechanics. It also exudes the same playfulness for which the original two-wheeler is renowned. But it’s been equipped with a spate of futuristic features to bring the bike full speed into the 21st century

Mightyseed Electric Vespa

Mightyseed

The gas-guzzling engine of yore has been replaced by a 30 aH lithium-ion battery and hub-mounted motor. This not only gives the rider extra storage under the seat; it reduces the carbon emissions to zero. The rearview mirrors have been swapped for an intuitive LIDAR system, which is essentially a fancy sensor that allows riders to “see” what’s around them (road hazards, oncoming vehicles, pedestrians, etc.). And the seat has also been reduced in size.

Surprisingly, it’s the handlebar area where the designers have really switched things up. They’ve eschewed the Vespa’s signature round headlight in favor of a minimalist LED strip that sits atop the front fender, offering a futuristic digital display, which runs across the decidedly svelte bars. These features alone give the bike a next-gen feel that’s sure to appeal to tech-heads.

Mightyseed Electric Vespa

Mightyseed

The scooter’s outer shell sports a pale blue gloss finish, which is juxtaposed by two neon yellow pinstripes that run down the backside. It’s not the most groundbreaking paint job, but it’s appealing nonetheless.

“The Vespa 98 project was an in-house self-initiated project and the inspiration was Corradino D’Ascanio’s adored Vespa,” Mightyseed’s co-founder and principal designer, Bonny Sunny, told Robb Report. “We added the flavor to look relevant for modern times.”

The firm didn’t divulge whether this Vespa will roll into production. But count us among those hoping to see this Vespa on the road.

The megayacht Indah a 394-Foot Epic Beach Club That Expands Like a Bird’s Tail

It’s all thanks to the rotating transom bulkheads

Opalinski Design House Indah MegayachtOpalinski Design House

It’s no secret that beach clubs have become a popular addition to luxury yachts, but the one that adorns the new megayacht Indah is unlike anything currently on the seas. In fact, it’s more like an epic waterfront entertainment venue, offering enough space for you, your friends and even your friends’ friends to enjoy.

The oversized beach club is the centerpiece of the 394-foot concept, which was penned by Opalinski Design House. The vessel sports a sleek steel hull, an aluminum superstructure and a wave-piercing vertical bow. It also features some nifty, origami-like engineering to give it more space aft.

The patented design is equipped with rotating transom bulkheads that expand outwards to reveal additional decking. These extended decks are then raised to level with the swim platform to create a sprawling beach club. This space features sunpads for seaside chilling, along with a gym and sauna that are discreetly hidden behind tinted glass. Seafarers will also have direct access to tenders, which can pull up next to the openings in the bulkheads.Opalinski Design House Indah Megayacht

The vessel with the rotating transom bulkheads closed. Opalinski Design House

Beyond the beach club, Indah, which means “beautiful one” in Indonesian, features a massive 5,500 GT interior and a myriad of luxurious amenities. She can accommodate a total of 24 guests across 12 cabins and the generous owner’s suite comes complete with its own dedicated aft deck balcony. She can also sleep a total 32 crew.

Elsewhere, Indah offers a foredeck jacuzzi with sunbeds and a retractable sunshade, a sizable aft pool that overlooks the beach club, along with a haul of water toys. Owners can also choose to add a helicopter landing pad and hangar for further exploration at sea.Opalinski Design House Indah Megayacht

The vessel with the rotating transom bulkheads extended. Opalinski Design House

Billed as a “true ocean-going vessel,” Indah will be fitted with a diesel-electric propulsion package for cleaner and efficient cruising. She will be powered by four MTU16V engines that together deliver a top speed of 24 knots and a range of 7,000 nautical miles. She will also have solar generating surface coatings and vertical wind turbines onboard to produce green energy.

Although Indah is just a concept at this stage, the firm is currently offering to license the rotational transom bulkheads to selected manufacturers. That means we may be seeing many more ginormous beach clubs in the future.

Check out more renders of the megayacht below:Opalinski Design House Indah Megayacht

Opalinski Design House Indah Megayacht

Opalinski Design House Indah Megayacht

Opalinski Design House Indah Megayacht

Opalinski Design House Indah Megayacht

Opalinski Design House Indah Megayacht

Opalinski Design House

Ten of the greatest one-off cars ever made

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One-off cars are hellishly expensive to make, but manufacturers treat us to one from time to time as a way of showcasing what they are capable of. Usually outlandish in design and often crazy-powerful, they act as halo machines for the wider brand. For example, when Volkswagen stuffed a W12 engine into the Golf GTI – which is downright nuts – it probably prompted a few sales of the regular hot hatch.

We’re just pleased that brands have given us so many amazing one-off cars over the years, so here we pay tribute to ten of the very best ever made.

BMW M1 Hommage (2008)

There are no prizes for guessing which legendary model BMW was making a nod to with the M1 Hommage. This reimagining of the 1978 M1 (the first ever M car) was also clearly heavy inspiration for the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sportscar, which became the second production BMW to feature a mid-mounted engine, after the M1.

Aston Martin Bulldog (1979)

The Bulldog was initially planned for a production run of 15-25 cars, but it was deemed too expensive to make so plans were scrapped after the first example. Effectively Aston’s first hypercar, the Bulldog could hit 237mph, but it ended up being mothballed in a private car collection owned by a Saudi Prince. It was recently returned to the UK, however, and is being restored to working condition.

Lamborghini Egoista (2013)

Built by Lambo to celebrate its 50th anniversary, the Egoista is based on the Gallardo supercar but looks more like a fully-functional Batmobile. From its side profile the Egoista is supposed to resemble a bull ready to charge, and it’s powered by the Gallardo’s 5.2-litre V10 engine.

Mazda Furai (2007)

Mazda wanted this car to go into production and had ambitions of returning to Le Mans with it…until it caught fire and was destroyed. Yep, the 460bhp Furai burned up while being driven by a well-known motoring magazine which has the initials T and G, and it was never seen again.

GT by Citroen (2008)

Being a Citroen it has to have a pretentious name, but in every other way the GT by Citroen is an absolute beast, featuring a 640-odd bhp Ford-suppled V8 engine and weighing just 1,400kg. With Citroen being the masters of good PR, the GT was designed and produced as a joint venture with the Gran Turismo 5 video game.

Jaguar XJ13 (1966)

The brainchild of Jaguar engineering director William Heynes, the XJ13 was built as an entry to Le Mans, but sadly it never happened. In 1971 it was nearly written off in a crash during a photoshoot being held to promote the Series 3 E-Type, which used a similar V12 engine to the XJ13. Luckily it was restored, but it could never be remade to the exact original specification.

Porsche 911 Four Door (1967)

Long before the Panamera came the 911 Four Door, which was literally an elongated 911 with two rear doors fitted, which were suicide doors. The car was commissioned by a Texan Porsche distributor who wanted to give his wife something more practical to drive.

Volkswagen Golf GTI W12-650 (2007)

The stats alone sound frightening: 641bhp, 750Nm of torque and a top speed of 201mph. In a VW Golf. Wow. While the W12-650 was built as a concept car the one example in existence is fully-functional, using a 6-litre W12 engine nicked straight out of the Bentley Continental GT.

Kia Sorento Ski Gondola (2016)

You don’t normally think of the Kia Sorento as an exciting car, but this 2016 one-off is brilliant. It’s essentially a four seater SUV with the capability to go almost literally anywhere, thanks to the continuous track systems in place of each wheel.

Bugatti La Voiture Noire (2019)

Based on the – let’s face it already pretty exclusive – Bugatti Chiron, the La Voiture Noire (French for ‘the black car’) is a nod to the 1935 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic. It’s powered by the same 8-litre W16 engine as the Chiron, but components like the auto ‘box and dampers are softened to recreate that ‘wafting’ feel of the 57SC.

So How Fast is Blackbird ?

That time a Blackbird pilot revealed SR-71’s True Top Speed

 

The story of the SR-71 Blackbird that outran Gaddafi's SAMs during a BDA flight of Libya in support of Operation Eldorado Canyon

The SR-71 Blackbird is still the fastest plane that has ever flown and served an important role in history as a spy plane. Its first test flight was on December 22, 1964 and was never once hit by a missile during its 25 years of service.Though these awesome planes haven’t left the ground since before the turn of the century, they’re still worth all the recognition of being the fastest plane on Earth.

The SR-71, the most advanced member of the Blackbird family that included the A-12 and YF-12, was designed by a team of Lockheed personnel led by Clarence “Kelly” Johnson, then vice president of Lockheed’s Advanced Development Company Projects, commonly known as the “Skunk Works” and now a part of Lockheed Martin Corp.

The Blackbirds were designed to cruise at “Mach 3+,” just over three times the speed of sound or more than 2,200 miles per hour and at altitudes up to 85,000 feet.

Now when talking about SR-71 probably the most frequently asked Blackbird question is-how high and how fast does it really fly?

Former SR-71 pilot Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Gil Bertelson recalls in Richard H. Graham book SR-71 Blackbird Stories, Tales and Legends:

‘When I first joined the SR-71 program there was one permanent operating location for SR-71s at Kadena AB. The unit at Kadena was known as detachment 1 (or Det 1) of the 9th SRW. Habus were deployed to Det 1 for six weeks at a time and each crew made the trip four to six times a year. About twice a year, there was a requirement to temporarily activate an additional Det at RAF Mildenhall in England. Although we’d had two SR-71s permanently stationed at RAF Mildenhall since 1981, it wasn’t until 5 April 1984 that Prime Minister Thatcher formally announced SR-71s would be permanently based at Mildenhall. This unit was known as Det 4 of the 9th SRW. Dets 2 and 3 of the 9th SRW were U-2 operating locations, at Osan AB, Korea, and RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, respectively.

‘There was a significantly different flying environment between the two detachments. The weather was almost at opposite ends of the spectrum. The missions were not quite as “routine” as many of the Okinawa missions.

‘Because of the more demanding missions at Mildenhall, each new SR-71crew had to fly its first operational sorties at Kadena. Every SR crew lobbied long and hard to get on the schedule for Mildenhall. And London was not far away!

‘Frank Stampf, my RSO crewmate on the SR-71, and I were fortunate to get on the schedule for Mildenhall after only two trips to Okinawa. For both of us, it was like going home. Just before entering the SR-71 program, Frank had been stationed at RAF Alconbury for about four years as an RF-4 crew dog. And I had been stationed at RAF Lakenheath for a couple of years. As the “crow flies,” Alconbury is only 30 miles from Mildenhall and Lakenheath is only 3 miles from Mildenhall. We were both anxious to visit the old flying buddies we had known and worked with in careers before we became Habus.

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‘On one occasion, I arranged to meet several of my F-111 friends at Lakenheath Officers’ Club for dinner. We met in the bar and had a few drinks (as a real, live, dyed-in-the-wool teetotaler, I assume I was drinking grapefruit juice or 7-Up). We shared numerous laughs while trying to outdo each other with tales of unequalled courage and great feats of airmanship. I’m sure our hands were getting a good workout—pilots gesticulate a lot!

‘At some point in the evening, the Aardvark (F-111 nickname) guys began to press me, in a good-natured way, for classified information about the SR-71. Probably the most frequently asked Blackbird question is-how high and how fast does it really fly? That question was being actively pursued that night at Lakenheath.

‘I need to back up about a year and a half to set the stage as to why they seemed intent on pushing that particular question. In most Air Force buildings, at least the flying squadron buildings I used to frequent, there were numerous locations where the base fire marshal had posted information regarding fire classifications and appropriate reactions upon discovering different types of fires. These posters were displayed in the restrooms, in the halls, near the duty desks, in the crew briefing rooms, and next to all of the fire extinguisher. I can’t remember all the specifics other than there was one fire classification identified as a category or type 3.

‘At some point in my application for assignment to the SR-71, I was requested to go to Beale for my “tryout” for the Blackbird program. The whole process from departing Lakenheath until returning back to Lakenheath took about two weeks. During the visit to Beale, I heard and read a number of times that the unclassified speed of the SR-71 was listed as Mach 3-plus. A “3+” patch is displayed on flight suits worn by SR-71 squadron crewmembers.

That time a Blackbird pilot revealed SR-71’s Top Speed

‘When I arrived back to Lakenheath, I was really pumped up and excited about the prospects of being selected to fly the SR-71. I didn’t want to forget the experiences I had at Beale or to lose sight of my goal. To help me remember and to keep my attention focused on what I wanted to do, I began adding a black grease pencil + sign to all of the 3s on the fire code posters. There were many added + signs around the base that the very diligent safety officer in 493rd Tactical Fighter Squadron actually called the base fire marshal to get information about this “new classification.” When he was told there was no such thing as a code 3+, he finally figured it out and started looking for me. I was given a “cease and desist” order and one by one, he began erasing my “unauthorized” + signs.

‘Now back to the “O” Club a year and a half later. My dinner partners remembered the fuss over the posters and figured now was an appropriate time and place to get the real scoop as to how high and how fast the Blackbird really did fly. They were curious as to what kind of speed that little + sign actually equated to.

‘I played along for a while, dragging out the inevitable answer of Mach 3-plus, which, when all was said and done, was all I really could tell them anyway. I finally got them leaning in toward me as we sat around the dinner table. I did a pretty good acting job as I began nervously looking around the room be sure no one else was eavesdropping on what they thought would be a classified conversation.

With the guys leaning in to hang on every word I was about to speak, I said something like, “You’ve got to promise not to tell a soul what I am going to tell you now. If you do, I’ll deny it till the day I die. I’m sure you know I shouldn’t be talking about this at all. You know how high the pile will be that they’ll stick me in if you tell anyone else.” As they gathered closer to make sure they didn’t miss anything, I said, “I can’t specific numbers, but I can give you a point of reference you can use to figure it out. You know the part in ‘High Flight’—where it talks about putting out your hand to touch the face of God?” Well,” I added, “when we’re at speed and altitude in the SR, we have to slow down and descend in order to do that.”

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“You know the part in ‘High Flight’—where it talks about putting out your hand to touch the face of God? Well, when we’re at speed and altitude in the SR, we have to slow down and descend in order to do that,” Gil Bertelson, former SR-71 Blackbird pilot.

That time a Blackbird pilot revealed SR-71’s Top Speed

15 Fascinating Facts About The SR-71 Blackbird —

1. The SR-71 Blackbird aircraft was built by Lockheed Martin and took its first flight in 1964. It was retired by NASA in 1999. 2. It is the fastest planes that ever took flight. The official fastest record it holds is 2,193.13 mph on July 1976. The photo above was taken right after it reached that record. 3. It earned its nickname “Blackbird” because of how stealth it was. It was also extremely quiet inside the cockpit, according to pilot Richard Graham. “You could hear a pin drop. The view is spectacular, being able to see the curvature of the Earth and the black space above filled with stars,” he said. 4. The Blackbird was able to map terrain like a side-scanning sonar, aim a radar up to 45 degrees to the side, and interrupt enemy communication and radar signals. 5. It was built to fly up to Mach 3.4 speeds (approx. 2,500 mph on land). 6. Over 4,000 missiles were fired at the Blackbird in the 25 years it was flown, but none ever hit it. The Blackbird was just too fast and its evasive tactic was just to speed up until the missile couldn’t keep up with it. 7. Its navigation system called “R2-D2” had a sensor so powerful that it could detect up to 61 stars in broad daylight while the plane was still on the ground. 8. The plane required a large amount of titanium to be built so the CIA created fake companies around the world to buy metal from the USSR, which was the biggest supplier, as well as the United States’ enemy at that time. 9. The plane was covered in over 60 pounds of black paint because the black helped cool down the plane by up to 86 degrees. Traveling at over Mach 3, the plane could hit as high as 1,000 degrees without the black paint dissipating the heat. 10. The SR-71 constantly leaked fuel while not in flight due to the contraction of its titanium skin. The tank was designed to expand as it heated up due to air friction. The SR-71 had enough fuel to take off and then get refueled up in the air by a tanker. 11. Its tires were specially designed for the SR-71. Their material was made of aluminum powder which was impregnated to reject heat. This additive gave its unique appearance of silver coloration. 12. There were only 32 Blackbirds ever built. 13. Even though it leaked fuel, the fuel had such a high flash point that it would not ignite even if it was hit with fire. 14. To work on the plane as a crew member, you needed to be between the ages of 25 and 40, be married and be “emotionally stable.” 15. The camera on the Blackbird was so advanced that when it took a photo of a car on the ground that was 80,000 feet below it and the plane traveled at over 2,000 mph, the license plate would be visible in the photo.

What Would The Sun Looks Like Viewing From Every Planet In Our Solar System

How the moon reveals the sun's mass | Astronomy Essentials | EarthSky

What does the sun look like from other planets? Given the vast and disparate distances, it is not so easy to imagine.

But the digital renderings created by Ron Miller, a Virginia-based illustrator who has spent decades representing space, help answer this delicate question. They show the sun as it appears in the sky of each of the nine planets (along with our favorite dwarf planet, Pluto).

“I’ve taken care in not only making sure the Sun is depicted realistically, but also the surfaces of the planets and satellites as well,” Miller told IFLScience.

Scroll down to see Miller’s starkly beautiful images…

Mercury

The sun as seen from Mercury, which is about 60 million kilometers from the sun or 39 percent of the distance from Earth to the sun. On Mercury, the sun is about three times larger than on Earth.

Venus

The sun as seen (almost) from Venus, about 108 million kilometers from the sun (72% of the distance from Earth to the sun). Seen from beneath Venus’ dense, sulfuric acid-laden clouds, the sun is no more than a dimly glowing patch in the perpetual overcast.

Earth

Earth, which is 150 million kilometers (93 million miles) from the Sun. If you’ve ever seen a solar eclipse, this sight will be very familiar to you

 

Mars

Mars orbits the Sun at a distance of 230 million kilometers, or about 1.5 times further than Earth. But it is not the distance that reduces the visibility of the Sun, but the strong winds that carry dust up into the outer confines of atmosphere of the red planet.

Jupiter

This is what the Sun looks like from Europa, one Jupiter’s moons. It is much, much further away, at 779 million kilometers from the Sun (5.2 times greater than the distance between the Sun and the Earth).

Saturn

The sun as seen from Saturn, about 1.5 billion kilometers from the sun. It is about 9.5 times farther than the distance from Earth to the sun. Here, water and gas crystals, including ammonia, refract sunlight, creating beautiful optical effects such as haloes and sundogs.

Uranus

The sun as seen from Ariel, one of Uranus’s moons. Uranus is about 2.9 billion kilometers from the sun, or about 19 times farther than the distance from Earth to the sun.

Neptune

The sun as seen from Triton, one of Neptune’s moons. Neptune is about 4.5 billion kilometers from the sun. That’s about 30 times farther than the distance from Earth to the sun.

Pluto

 

From the perspective of the planet furthest from our solar system, the Sun is little more than a tiny point of light. Pluto is 6 billion kilometers from the Sun (40 times the distance between it and Earth), which means that the light reaching it is 1600 times weaker than that which we receive here.