Engineering Related Information
One of the most amazing achievements in Engineering is when Form and Function are balanced. There is no greater example of that than the Blackbird family of aircraft. The elegance of the design is unmatched by any other aircraft in the past half century. Most amazing (to me anyway) is that the designers figured out that the titanium skin would expand considerably during flight. The solution was to undersize the plates and leave a gap that closed as the plates expanded during flight. The gaps were large enough that the plane leaked fuel on the runway and had to be refueled immediately after takeoff.
Blackbird Airpark outside Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, CA
The A-12 was the proof-of-concept vehicle for the SR-71/YF-12 family of "Blackbirds." It was the 12th in a series of designs for a U-2 replacement from Kelly Johnson's "Skunk Works," hence the designation "A-12." Although its operational service is shrouded in mystery, it is believed the single-seat A-12 was used exclusively in covert operations by the CIA from 1967 to 1968.
Of the fifteen A-12's produced, this is the prototype aircraft, #60-6924....the first one built and flown. Although momentarily lifting off during a high-speed taxi check on Apr 24, 1962, it's first real flight was two days later, from the Air Force's classified Groom Lake flight test facility in Nevada. Restoration courtesy of Lockheed Advanced Development Company.
The SR-71A reached a speed of Mach 1.3 during its maiden flight from Plant 42 on December 22, 1964. After extensive flight testing at nearby Edwards AFB, the Blackbird entered operational service with the Strategic Air Command (SAC) in January 1966 at Beale AFB, California. Primary overseas operating locations were Kadena AB, Japan and RAF Mildenhall, England. On March 6, 1990, an SR-71 set a transcontinental coast to coast record, flying 2,404 statute miles in 68 minutes 17 seconds.
This aircraft, #61-7973, was delivered to SAC in 1968. It served its entire career in operational reconnaissance with the 9th SRW. It's last flight was July 21, 1987 from Mildenhall to Plant 42. It has 1729.9 total flying hours. Restoration courtesy of Lockheed Advanced Development Company.
Lockheed D-21 Drone
The D-21 was an unmaned, ramjet-powered craft designed to be air-launched from atop an A-12 (redesignated M-21) mother ship. It was conceived as a reconnaissance platfrom that would fly over high-threat targets without endangering a pilot. After acquiring photos of its target, the D-21 would return to a safe area and eject a hatch containing the reconnaissance equipment. As the hatch was lowered by parachute, it would be recovered in mid-air by a JC-130B Hercules. The project was terminated after a fatal accident on the fourth test launch. Four operational missions were later flown from B-52 launch aircraft. This D-21 is on loan from NASA (to Blackbird Airpark in Palmdale, CA).
A Short List of Techy Favorite Links (work in progress)
Navy / Miltary News:
Navy/Military News - Defense Link (DoD official)
Navy/Military News - US Navy News
Navy/Military News - Defense News
Navy/Military News - Defense Tech
Navy/Military News - Defense Industry Daily
Navy/Military News - Murdoc Online
Navy/Military News - Colton Company
Navy/Military News - Gallery of Transport Loss
Navy/Military News - National Defense Education Program
3D Modeling - Rhino 3D
3D Modeling - Blender 3D [Open Source]
3D Modeling - Renderman Repository
3D Modeling - 3D World Club
3D Modeling - Lightwave Group
3D Modeling - Virtual (Fish) Museum
3D Modeling - Combat Index (Ship Models for sale)
3D Modeling - On-line Blender 3D Course
Composites - Marine Composites
Composites - Professional Boatbuilder [Trade Magazine]
Composites - International Boatbuilders Exposition and Conference (IBEX)
Composites - American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) [Trade Group]
Composites - ACMA / Composites Manufacturing [Trade Magazine]
Composites - ACMA / Boy Scouts Composites Merit Badge
Composites - Composites World / High Performance Composites [Trade Magazine]
Composites - Ship Shape TV
Composites - Net Composites [news]
Composites - Japan Carbon Fiber Manufacturers Association (JCMA)
Composites - Society for the Advancement of Materials and Process Engineering (SAMPE)
Composites - [US] Defense Technical Information Service (DTIC) - Reports
Composites - [Australia] Defence Science and Technology Organization Reports
Composites - [Canada] Defense Research Establishemnt Reports