Thursday, January 19, 2017

The X-Men's Blackbird

Comic Book - Blackbird 
History: The Blackbird is the X-Men's main source of conventional transportation. Professor Charles Xavier somehow gained at least one working version of the RS-150 Blackbird from S.H.I.E.L.D., after the X-Men's Stratojet had been destroyed by Count Nefaria. Located in an aircraft hanger on the grounds of the Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, the Blackbird served the Professor and X-Men for many years. At some time, the Professor upgraded to the SR-71 Blackbird. The Devil's Rock was the exit and entry point for the X-Men's aircraft. After the X-Men were thought dead in Dallas, Texas, Nightcrawler, who had since joined Excalibur, teleported into the Skunk Works, a part of the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, and started-up the SR-71 Blackbird, taking it back to England.

Forge Upgraded: After an extended sojourn in space with the Starjammers, Professor Xavier returned to Earth and both the original and third teams of X-Men reassembled under his leadership. At this time, Prof. Xavier asked Forge, a mutant with an unusual talent for inventing mechanical devices, to upgrade the Blackbird and include Shi'ar technology, including a cloaking device which literally made the Blackbird invisible. The Professor also had Cerebro's, the X-Men's original machine used to detect mutants all over the world, software installed into the Blackbird, for non-telepathic use. Professor Xavier later had many Blackbirds built and filled the hangar.

New Models: After deciding that he needed to make a stronger presence, Professor Xavier regathered his X-Men as a public team and created the X-Corp. Professor X had new Blackbirds designed, ones with an "X" across the top (see X-Wing) of the jet. As Cerebro had become sentient and destroyed, Beast added Cerebra, Cerebro's more powerful replacement, to the Blackbirds.

After Kuan-Yin Xorn impersonated Magneto and destroyed the Xavier mansion, Beast rebuilt the sub-basement and Cyclops asked Angel to purchase new Blackbirds. Since the mansion's reconstruction, the exit and entry point for the X-Men's aircraft was relocated beneath the basketball court. Upon departure and landing, a klaxon will sound warning for anyone nearby to vacate the area. Students are advised to move immediately, once the klaxon sounds. Even after moving to Graymalkin Industries and later Utopia, these new Blackbirds have moved with the X-Men. It is presumed that the jets went to the Jean Grey School after the events of Schism.

Travel Radius: 6,100 miles (9,760 km)
Maximum Velocity (at sea level): Mach 2.3 (1,770 mph / 2,832 kph)
Maximum Velocity (at 120,000 feet): Mach 4.2 (3,234 mph / 5,175 kph)
Service Ceiling: 230,000 feet (69,000 meters)
Maximum Rate of Climb: 29.5 miles per minute
Onboard Equipment: Shi'ar cloaking device and sensors, pressurized cabin, Cerebro, then later Cerebra.
Onboard Weaponry: The SR-71 was designed as a spy plane, sacrificing weaponry for surveillance equipment. Since becoming the X-Men's main transport, the jet has been outfitted with concussion missiles and other offensive weaponry and defensive capabilities. The Blackbird also relies on the offensive capabilities of its passengers and crew.
Weight (unloaded, including fuel): 125,000 lbs (56,800 kg)
Weight (at maximum capacity): 145,000 lbs (65,900 kg)
Maximum Cargo: 20,000 lbs (9,100 kg)  

The original X-Men Blackbird was visually based on a modified, scaled-up version of the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird spy plane (hence the name) but was modified to carry several passengers, as well as for Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL). Some writers have referred to this design as the "SR-73" (possibly unofficial). The original Blackbird was crashed, torn apart, or otherwise destroyed on a regular basis, but each time it was rebuilt. Later versions incorporated technology created by Forge and the Shi'ar, including weapon systems, holographic active camouflage, and engines capable of hypersonic speeds.

Ultimate X-Jet 
The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird: In the Ultimate X-Men series, the X-Men seemingly have several aircraft, including one that resembles a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber (this craft is referred to in issue #70 as the "X-Wing"). One of the airplanes has been referred to casually as the "Blackbird" because of its resemblance to the SR-71. In the early years of the plane it was almost exactly like the SR-71 but with its revisions over the years it doesn't look exactly the same anymore but very similar. It has the look of the SR-71's distinct looking fuselage adding a pair of front swept wings and removing the engines from the wings and putting them in the rear of the fuselage. The main reason it reminds people of the real "Blackbird" is its long, tapered fuselage with the wings at the extreme rear, instead of the normal middle of the plane position.

-The Blackbird appeared in X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men and frequently in the X-Men animated television series.
-The X-Jet (along with a helicopter) appeared in the more recent animated series X-Men: Evolution.
-The Blackbird also appeared frequently in the animated series Wolverine and the X-Men.
-The Blackbird is also featured in Marvel Anime.

X-Men Movies (Earth-10005)

Original Blackbird: The original Blackbird was designed and built by Hank McCoy in the early 60s, during his time working for the CIA. It was used to transport the newly formed X-Men to Cuba in order to fight the Hellfire Club. It was heavily damaged by Riptide and crash-landed in Cuba.

Second Blackbird: As in 2000, the X-Men had a Blackbird, called mainly X-Jet. It was used by the team to get to Liberty Island. A new model was used later by Jean Grey and Storm used it to travel to Nightcrawler, then back to get Wolverine, Rogue, Pyro and Iceman. They flew to Alkali Lake's dam to save captured Xavier Institute students and to foil William Stryker's plan. When they were asked to stay, Rogue and Iceman waited in the X-Jet while Pyro abandoned them to join the Brotherhood of Mutants. Rogue and Iceman flew the X-Jet to save the X-Men and the captured mutants. Jean Grey stayed behind to counter the flood and sent the X-Jet to safety from the incoming wave from the broken dam.[3]

Third Blackbird: During Magneto's assault on Alcatraz Island, the X-Men used the X-Jet to travel there in stealth mode. When Jean Grey, now the Phoenix, unleashed her power, the X-Jet was desintegrated along with most of the island.

Future Blackbird: By the year 2023, the X-Jet had already been rebuilt, apearing to be stealthy and fast enough that the Sentinels couldn't detect it. The X-Jet was used to transport Storm, Wolverine, Professor X, and Magneto to meet with Free Mutants. Later when the Sentinels found them, Magneto lifted the jet and sent it flying into the Sentinels. Storm the shot a lightning bolt into it's engine, causing it to blow up, destroying hundreds of Sentinels in the process. But when the small number of Sentinels ambushed and annihilated the group, an injured Magneto used every last debris from the destroyed X-Jet to fortify the temple's door before retreating back inside through Blink's portal.

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