We Lived in a Remarkable Century, Part 3: Lockheed’s Skunk Works

Skunk Works is the story of Lockheed’s fabled  prototype and black production outfit that produced the U-2, the SR-71 Blackbird, and the F-117A stealth fighter among other projects.  The Blackbird is a must-see at several air museums today, notably the Smithsonian at Washington’s Dulles International Airport.

The accelerated schedules and almost routine technical breakthroughs are a breath of fresh air compared to today’s decades-long projects that result in disappointments like the B-2 and F-35.

This book is worth the price just for the summaries of Blackbird training flights: literally coast to coast and border to border and return in less than four hours! – leave home in Sacramento, take off about nine am, refuel over the Pacific, fly cross country and north-south, refuel again near Miami, return in time to play tennis before cocktail hour.

Photograph all of North Korea in ten minutes (that’s how they found the USS Pueblo sequestered in a North Korean port.)

And on and on.

h/t Philip Greenspun’s Weblog





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