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Posted: 4/26/2002 4:10:38 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/26/2002 9:46:36 AM EDT by EdAvilaSr]
40 years ago today: The first flight of the A-12 Blackbird, predecessor to the SR-71, still the highest and fastest plane ever built. Details: [url]http://www.blackbirds.net/[/url] Regards, Merlin [red]Edited by EA to activate the URL[/red]
Link Posted: 4/26/2002 4:18:12 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Merlin: The first flight of the A-12 Blackbird, predecessor to the SR-71, still the highest and fastest plane ever built.
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Officially, anyway. (I guess you don't count the X-15 as a plane, eh?) You can be sure the Aurora exceeds the Blackbird, else it wouldn't have been retired. Still, the Blackbird is an [b]incredible[/b] aircraft. They had to invent the means of machining to invent the plane! Another one I love is the XB-70 Valkarie [img]http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/Projects/SR71/images/SR-71blackbird.gif[/img] [img]http://www.labiker.org/xb70/fade6.jpg[/img]
Link Posted: 4/26/2002 5:28:34 AM EDT
At the time of the first flight, it was the YF-12.
Link Posted: 4/26/2002 6:26:50 AM EDT
What I find most mindboggling about the A12/SR71 is that all of the technology surrounding them was designed with a sliderule. A WHAT? the kids ask. [:D]
Link Posted: 4/26/2002 9:23:45 AM EDT
Norm G, I don't understand your comment. First flight of A-12 #121 was 4/26/62. First flight of the YF-12 (#6939 airframe number) was 3/13/64. The YF-12 was the fighter/interceptor version of the A-12/SR-71 series. Fight, the X-15 was rocket powered and no, I don't consider it an airplane (although I did say "plane" in my original post). I think most aircraft fans make a distinction between air-breathers and rocket-powered craft. Also, I posted a question about the Aurora several months ago to see if there was any credible evidence of Aurora flying operationally or otherwise. I found no credible evidence of Aurora flying operationally. According to the Skunks Works mailing list guys, they say no operational data coming out of either Desert Storm or the new terrorist war that would indicate intelligence or data from a high flying spy craft as was seen when the Blackbird was flying. As far as the retirement of the Blackbird being "evidence" of Auroro, you don't have to look very far into the Blackbird community to see that the Blackbird was retired because the USAF no longer wanted it (there was no high level support within the USAF for the platform; the highest level guy was considered to be General Bond who was killed flying at Groom Lake several years ago). Keep in mind that even the F-117 and B-2 programs were considered the highest classified programs of their time, that didn't prevent people from knowing the programs were real. There is a good analysis of that whole subject at the FAS.org site. Anyway, I thought it pretty interesting that Kelly Johnson's brainchild flew today 40 years ago and we haven't seen anything remotely approach it in performance since (excepting spaceplanes (X-15, shuttle). Thanks, Merlin
Link Posted: 4/26/2002 10:04:04 AM EDT
A few years ago I was watching a briefing on the Blackbird being used as an experimental plane for NASA and the speaker commented that the performance parameters are classified but if needed she could break her own speed and altitude records easily. Damn! Mach 3 is very fast. I think it flew across the continent in 61 minutes or something! If my calculations are correct this MF'r could out run a .308 at the muzzle! Anyway in the same conference someone asked the speaker about a "Project Aurora". He responded that no such project exists and if it did he would not be able to speak of it. There were some complaints a bit ago about sonic booms occuring regularly on the west coast with a dotted contrail pattern very high in the sky. The USGS also was picking up the pressure waves of hypersonic objects with seismic sensors scattered about the San Andreas Fault that corresponded with the complaints recieved by the DoD of sonic booms. The seismic sensors were able to triangulate the trajectory and speed of these objects and were reported to be above mach 7 and sub-orbital. The DoD said they were meteors falling into the atmosphere. Funny thing was they came every Thursday at 9AM or so for weeks on end and then mysteriously stopped. And no obseveatories reported increased meteor activity in the area! That's what I read but forget where I read it from. The fact is that the DoD has some serious stuff brewing out in the desert. Pulse-jet engines, scram-jets, and such are feasable and with the advent of high temp materials it is likely they are looking to find hypersonic weapon delivery systems. Who knows, the BlackBird was pretty advanced for her time. Maybe they used some tricks they found in Roswell a few years earlier![(:|)]
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