An aircraft that needs no introduction, the SR-71 is an icon of aviation. Developed from the YF-12 high speed, high altitude interceptor, the SR-71 Blackbird is known for it's high performance. The SR-71 Blackbird operates at altitudes of 80,000 feet and speeds over 2000 MPH. The airplane was painted all black to help dissipate the intense heat generated at those speeds. The SR-71 Blackbird is also designed to stretch a bit due to the thermal expansion created from the intense heat generated at high speeds. Used extensively on spy missions during the cold war, the Blackbird could fly higher and faster than most threats she faced. The Blackbird has been retired from regular service but examples are still flown by NASA for research purposes.