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Posted 5/15/2007 Printable Fact Sheet
SR-71 Flight Suit
SR-71 Full Pressure Flight Suit
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SR-71 Full Pressure Flight Suit

Flying at over 2,000 miles per hour at over 80,000 feet in the SR-71 created an environment extremely inhospitable to human life. At those speeds, temperatures on the windshield and cockpit alone reached over 600 degrees Fahrenheit. 

At that altitude the environment was closer to outer space than Earth. Due to weight and other considerations, the Blackbird carried only some of the systems to counter the effects of this harsh atmosphere on the aircrew. Therefore, crewmembers wore flight suits that were similar to those worn by the astronauts.
Called "full pressure suits," these special garments (actually named "the Pilot Protective Assembly") provided the wearer with a self-contained capsule of oxygen and atmospheric pressure. The suit was connected to aircraft systems that provided the required pressurization and oxygen. Cockpit cooling was also handled by systems on board the aircraft.

This suit protected the aircrew members during missions which lasted for an average of four hours. The suit and GNS-1031 helmet was fitted to the individual pilot for comfort and safety. Once the wearer was in his suit he had to use a portable cooling system to stay cool until he was connected into the aircraft cooling system. T

he pressurized suit was equipped with a parachute harness that had quick release fittings in the event the pilot had to leave the aircraft. There was also a flotation device installed in the suit in case the ejection occured over water. These highly specialized flight suits were maintained by USAF Physiological Support personnel.

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