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A-12 Spyplane Panorama

A-12 Spyplane Panorama, originally uploaded by big_pixel_pusher.

I couldn't stop taking pictures of this aircraft. I don't know if it's the shape and size that attracts me or if it's because I have read so much about it and appreciate it for the amazing thing that it is.

The prototype first flew in April of 1962 yet it still holds several world records for speed and altitude. Everything about this aircraft was revolutionary. Flying at more than 2,000 mph and at altitudes as high as 90,000 ft, its pilots could see the curvature of the earth and out-run missiles launched at it. It's cameras had incredible resolution.

Built almost entirely of titanium to endure the heat of friction generated at Mach 3+ speeds, parts of the aircrafts skin would reach 1,200 degrees. It's twin engines spat out white-hot 3,400 degree exhaust plumes into the super cold air 17 miles above the earth's surface. This unprecedented propulsive power sped the Blackbird at an unbelievable two-thirds of a mile a second.

This was the first stealthy aircraft ever built. It's radar cross section was 100 times smaller than the US Navy's F-14 Tomcat fighter built a decade later.

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Reader Comments (1)

Great shot !!!

September 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAvi Reem (AKA WingNut)

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