SR 71 Tires

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The SR 71 tires. Aluminum was mixed with the latex that is why the tires are Silver. Each tire cost $2,300. (that is in 1960s money)These 22-ply tires, used on the main landing gear of the SR-71, had a general life cycle of 15 landings. When the tires wore down, red chords became visible, signalling the replacement of the tires.

By inflating the tires with nitrogen, instead of air, a fire would be less likely to start due to the absence of oxygen.

The tire pressure on the SR-71 was 415 psi (compared to the 32-35 psi in your automobile tires!)
One early accident was in part because of the tires. 64-17950 (SR-71A) The prototype SR-71 was lost on 10 January 1967 at Edwards during an anti-skid braking system evaluation. The main undercarriage tires blew out and the resulting fire in the magnesium wheels spread to the rest of the aircraft as it ran off the end of the runway. Lockheed test pilot Art Peterson survived.

The geniuses at the Skunk Works did figure out how to keep tires on this extremely fast and extremely hot airplane. I hope you enjoy all the pictures of the tires that I found. Linda Sheffield Miller

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