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NEWS! - Aircraft Released : SR-71-'Test-Bed" Project by VSKYLABS

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NEWS! - Aircraft Released : SR-71-'Test-Bed' Project by VSKYLABS



NEWS! - SR71 by vSkyLabs_News header.jpg


The Lockheed SR-71 "Blackbird" is a retired long-range, high-altitude, Mach 3+ strategic reconnaissance aircraft developed and manufactured by the American aerospace company Lockheed Corporation. The SR-71 has several nicknames, including "Blackbird" and "Habu"


This is not the first "Blackbird" project for the X-Plane Simulator, as there was a default "Blackbird" for X-Plane 10/11, but discontinued in X-Plane 12. Some elements of the vSkyLabs aircraft do come from the actual SR-71 default aircraft, but obviously a lot, as absolutely this SR-71 is built from the ground up. This is a far more in depth version than that original but definitive version. Note this is an X-Plane 12 only aircraft.


Fully VR compatible / comprehensive FMOD sounds / Free future updates to existing customers / Highly responsive support and knowledge base for the SR-71 aircraft.

VSKYLABS SR-71 Flight Dynamic Model:
  • Highly detailed, comprehensive SR-71 performance and handling characteristics.
  • The simulation follows the SR-71A performance charts and climbing/cruise charts with high accuracy (speeds, power settings, time-of-climb, distance and a LOT more!).
  • Project version v1.0 includes flight model version 'VSL-SR-71-Block-1'. This will keep on updated and tuned side by side with flight testings and X-Plane 12 future evolution. 'BLOCK-2' is expected to be released about a week after project version v1.0 will be released. To know which update block you are flying, see the included update log.
  • Authentic SR-71 flight and handling characteristics are being simulated: Chines and delta wings lift, CG movement through flight and fuel loading, high AOA tendencies of the SR-71, takeoff and landing handling and performance and more.
  • Authentic climb schedule.
  • Supersonic drag profiles.
Engines and Afterburner:
  • Advanced Engines flight dynamics simulation ('VSL-SR-71-Block-1' in project version v1.0).
  • Ram-Jet aspects of the SR-71 propulsion system are being simulated: comes into practice at high supersonic speeds and power settings (thrust, fuel consumption and so forth).
  • Throttles: simulated 'cutoff' and 'burner' regimes, to allow 'conventional' operation where fully aft is 'cut off'.
  • Chemical Ignition (TEB) System: Simulated authentically, including TEB counters when the throttles are advanced from 'cutoff' to 'idle' and from full dry to afterburner regime. Afterburner ignition is not possible when the TEB counter hits 'zero'. Same for ground startup.
  • TEB ignition visualization (the green flash): simulated.
  • Exhaust Nozzle & Ejector: Variable-are iris-type afterburner nozzles are visualized, including ENP (Exhaust Nozzle Position) indicators.
  • External Starters: Two AG-330 starter units are simulated, visualized.
Air Inlet System:
  • Spikes: Spikes algorithm is simulated, authentically, for both automatic and manual modes (spikes ratio due mach, altitude etc..). Spikes animation included.
  • Spikes restart switches are functioning.
  • Engine unstart: Infrastructure for future implementation exists. Due to the 'unexpected' triggering of real engine unstart in real-life conditions (such as spikes failure and other reasons), this feature is currently partially disabled. You can unstart the engines when manually positioning the spikes in the wrong position during high-supersonic flight. But it will not occur spontaneously. This is still a WIP element.  
  • Aft Bypass: Aft bypass doors are animated according to the actual conditions.
Fuel system:
  • Authentic Fuel-tanks system layout: simulated authentically, including realistic shift in CG due fuel consumption in the various phases of flight.
  • Fuel feeding and sequencing: In current version, all fuel management is done automatically (automatic transfer to maintain CG within limits while it shifts). Manual, full capacity fuel system simulation is scheduled to be implemented in the future.
  • Air Refueling System: simulated, including tanker visualization and authentic SR-71 air-refueling radio recording (contributed by Mr. BC Thomas, high Time SR-71 Pilot with 1,217 hrs and 18 min).
  • Nitrogen tanks pressurization: Simulated authentically. Fuel fumes will exceed flash-point and will be ignited in the tanks unless the inert-gas-pressurization cycle was established (by completing an air refueling session up to full-tanks).
Electrical system:
  • Version v1.0 includes an authentic yet simplified electrical system. This is scheduled to grow in the future.
Hydraulic system:
  • Version v1.0 includes an authentic yet simplified hydraulic system. This is scheduled to grow in the future.
Landing Gear System:
  • Comprehensive landing gear system.
  • Manual Gear Release Handle: currently not functional in v1.0. Might change until release of v1.0. Will be implemented in the future.
  • Landing gears position lights, handle, warning light and Audible warning: Simulated authentically.
  • Nose-wheel Steering System: Simulated authentically, including engagement lights. Works as in the real SR-71, with a toggle push button located on the stick. 1st push engages the system, 2nd push disconnects it. Require authentic taxi and takeoff nose-wheel steering practices.
  • Wheel Brake System: Simulated authentically with ANTI-SKID/Wet-Dry switch. In Wet mode, brake anti-skid sensitivity is increased.
  • Drag Chute System: Simulated and physically-accurate, including lights etc.. (version v1.0 includes default drag chute visualization. This will be replaced in the future with an authentic one).
Primary Flight Controls:
  • Control stick throws: Simulated authentically (both visually and physically).
  • Elevon Control System: Simulated authentically (inboard, outboard, mixer).
  • Rudder Control System: Simulated, authentically.
  • Surface Limiter System: Simulated authentically. Including the SURF-LIMITER T-handle operations and indication light. Authentic throws and conditions (speed dependent). Lateral (roll) control stick travel and rudder displacement are restricted by the surface limiter system.
  • Pitch, Roll and Yaw trim: Simulated authentically, including operation and indication.
  • SAS Control: Simulated authentically, with high accuracy in all flight regimes.
  • Autopilot: Simulated, not the authentic SR-71 interface and modes. It includes APP/NAV/HDG/ATL/VVI modes.
  • Automatic High Angle of Attack Warning Systems - APW shaker and pusher:  Simulated authentically via the various conditions of operations and flight envelope regimes. Two separate modes are simulated authentically: Shaker and Shaker+Pusher.
  • Aural AOA indication and warning system: Did not exist in the real SR-71, however, it was implemented in the VSKYLABS SR-71-TB aircraft, to allow better AOA monitoring during flight (which is needed when flying without 'sensing' then real aircraft and real control stick forces..g forces and so forth).
Flight & Navigation Instruments:
  • Fully functional LR CDU 739 along with a fully functional EFIS/MAP display: covering 2*com, 2*nav, 2*adf, transponder.
  • Deicing System: Simulated.
Lighting Equipment:
  • Exterior lighting: Simulated.
  • Interior lighting: Simulated.
Environmental Control Systems:
  • Pressurization schedules: Current version this is simulated but with automatic mode only. Manual control will be implemented in the future.
Life Support Systems:
  • Oxygen System: Current version this is simulated but with automatic mode only. Manual control will be implemented in the future.
  • Pressure suite support systems: Not simulated. Listed for future implementation.
Emergency Warning Equipment:
  • Master Warning System: All active-systems warning, caution and condition lights indications are operational.
  • Indicators and warning lights test button: Simulated.


This being a vSkyLabs aircraft, Then the vSkylab philosophy is that you are purchasing an ongoing project, so any aircraft you purchase is not fully completed or is usually not completed to 100%, that is the deal you sign up for to get access to the aircraft, and all the development is free and ongoing throughout the X-Plane 12 version. These projects are under constant development: the development road-map is including flight model refinements, enhanced systems depth, additional liveries and other improvements. So this aircraft is noted as an "Early Access" project.










The SR-71 was designed for flight at over Mach 3 with a flight crew of two in tandem cockpits, with the pilot in the forward cockpit and the reconnaissance systems officer operating the surveillance systems and equipment from the rear cockpit, and directing navigation on the mission flight path. The SR-71 was designed to minimize its radar cross-section, an early attempt at stealth design. Finished aircraft were painted a dark blue, almost black, to increase the emission of internal heat and to act as camouflage against the night sky. The dark color led to the aircraft's nickname "Blackbird".


Images are courtesy of vSkyLabs (X-Plane 12 version)

Design by VSKYLABS
Support forum for the SR-71 TB



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The SR-71-TB by VSkyLabs Flying Lab Project is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here :


SR-71-TB Project by VSKYLABS

Your Price: US$37.00



X-Plane 12   (not for XP11)
Windows, Mac or Linux
8GB VRAM Minimum
Download Size: 424 MB 
Current Version : 1.0 (December 8th  2023)



News by Stephen Dutton'

9th December 2023

Copyright©2023: X-Plane Reviews


(Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Rights Reserved


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  • Stephen changed the title to NEWS! - Aircraft Released : SR-71-'Test-Bed" Project by VSKYLABS

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