However, saying that you want a new type of plane doesn’t just wish it into being. The creators of the SR-71 were faced with a variety of design challenges in order to make this aircraft a reality. One of the most significant of these was how to deal with the tremendous heat levels generated by the plane traveling so fast over such long distances. It was feared the aircraft would simply melt.
Lockheed’s engineers had to try and think of a way around the problem. They used titanium to build the plane, but it this proved to be not totally effective. That was when Ben Rich, a member of Lockheed’s advanced development team, Skunk Works, came up with a simple but elegant solution.
Rich hit upon a design feature now industry standard in stealth technology. He remembered from a university course that the color black both absorbs and re-emits heat. Consequently, he had the new aircraft painted completely black.