The X-Men's primary aircraft, known as the Blackbird, is a projected design by Carence "Kelly" Johnson, former head of the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation Projects Group (the "Skunk Works") prior to his retirement. The Skunk Works were responsible for the design and fabrication of the still-unequaled record-holding high performance strategic/reconnaissance aircraft the SR-71, and its attack version, the YF-12A. These craft are two seater's and the X-Men Blackbird accommodates a flight crew of 3 and 4 passengers. The Blackbird was never realized as part of the United States reconnaissance program, but the international organization SHIELD (Strategic Hazard Intervention, Espionage and Logistics Directorate) acquired the design and exotic tooling experience of this craft from Lockheed and produced an unspecified number of these highly classified aircraft. Only one survives today, the X-Men Blackbird. The rest apparently have been destroyed under unknown circumstances.
For many years, this has been the X-Men's main mode of travel throughout the world. Currently one Blackbird is designated to each X-Team. The Blackbird has always possessed Mach capability as well as Stealth ability and vertical thrusters. Needless to say, the have gone through many of these jets with time, and the newer ones have been created and modified by Forge to have even greater capability. The craft is intended to be a transonic transportation device that can carry all current members of the X-Men plus several passengers. The Blackbird is equipped to fly long-distance, high-altitude reconnaissance missions and shorter trips, as well as to any climate. A mission specific add-on pod can be equipped for several pre-planned or dangerous mission scenarios. It is also outfitted for battle with several offensive systems stations which control the built-in laser guns. The current Blackbird had been completely re-built using ultra-advanced Shi'Ar technology. Some Blackbird was fitted with a special ruby quartz windshield that can be used by Cyclops to project his optic blast and magnify its power many times over and a platform that Storm use to summon thunder clouds. Although it is a great aircraft, it is not without it own flaws, problems encountered at Mach 4 plus flight speeds, such as high temperatures, mechanical operations and stability, and routine equipment functioning have now been eliminated.
- Wing Span: 62 feet 6 inches
- Length: (overall, incl. nose probe): 88 Feet 4 inches
- Height: 19 feet 2 inches
- Weight: (unloaded, including fuel): 125,000 lbs
(fully loaded, including fuel): 145,000 lbs
- Cabin: max. width: 9 feet 5 inches
max. height: 7 feet 1 inches
- Max cargo capacity: 20,000 lbs
- Normal take-off weight: 145,000 lbs.
- Max. Level speed at Sea Level: Mach 2.3 (1,770 mph)
- Max. Level speed at 120,000 Feet: Mach 4.2 (3,234 mph)
- Max. rate of climb: 29.5 mps
- Service ceiling: 230,000 feet
- Range with max. fuel, 5% fuel reserve, 5,500 lbs payload: 8,200 miles
- Range with max fuel, 5% fuel reserve: 12,600 miles
- Accommodation: Flight crew of 3, 4 passenger, negative direction, high velocity escape capsule, sleeping quarter for 4
- Power Plant: 2 Shi'Ar vari-function hot-inlet compressor fuel are combustion engines(ram jets), uses fuel trim tanks for stability
- Capable of vertical take-off and landing from fixed engines
- Equipped with 3 month of rations and survival gear
- Shi'Ar cloaking device
- All-band communications
- Deep-space ready cabin
- Intelligence gathering equipment of Shi'Ar and human design
In Other Media
X-Men Trilogy (2000-2006)
The Blackbird is featured in the original three X-Men films: X-Men, X2: X-Men United, and X-Men: The Last Stand. In the films, the Blackbird is hidden beneath the Xavier Institute's basketball court.
X-Men: First Class (2011)
The prequel, X-Men: First Class, the first Blackbird is debuted as an advanced experimental aircraft that a young Hank McCoy designed for the CIA. The X-Men use the craft to get to their climactic battle with the Hellfire Club in Cuba, where the Blackbird is destroyed.
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
An advanced, futuristic version of the Blackbird is seen in X-Men: Days of Future Past, where it is used by the surviving members of the X-Men. The craft is destroyed after Storm blows it up in order to incinerate a swam or Sentinels.
A mainstay of the X-Men mythos, the Blackbird has been featured in Pryde of the X-Men, X-Men: The Animated Series, X-Men: Evolution, the Japanese X-Men anime, and Wolverine and the X-Men.
The Blackbird has been featured in X-Men: Children of the Atom, X-Men vs. Street Fighter, X-Men Legends, X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse, Deadpool, and Lego Marvel Super Heroes.
The Blackbird has been immortalized in plastic numerous times, usually in toy lines for the X-Men movies. This also includes a Lego set released to tie in to Days of Future Past.