Lockheed M-21 Blackbird at Boeing Museum of Flight

During last week’s media tour of the Pacific Northwest I wasfortunate to be able to stop off at the Boeing Museum of Flight in Seattle. DSCN0124blackbird.jpg

The Museum of Flight is one of the best aviation museums inthe United States and it gives the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum a good runfor its money. In some respects, like its World War I collection, it isactually far better than anything that can be found here in DC. They also havean outstanding collection of early Boeing aircraft as one might imagine…

 

My favorite aircraft in the collection is the lone survivingLockheed M-21 Blackbird and its D-21 drone–originally built for the CentralIntelligence Agency (it seems the CIA was a much cooler place back then withits own private air force) under the codename Tagboard. There were two of thesejets that were built, based on the earlier CIA A-12 Blackbird, but the otherone was lost during a drone launch accident. That led to the cancellation ofthe program…

 

Of course, there were other Blackbird variants–the YF-12 interceptor,which was cancelled, and most importantly the US Air Force’s SR-71 Blackbird.The SR-71 was never really replaced when it was retired at the end of the ColdWar… And there are persistent rumors of some black project out at Groom Lake,Nevada; some sort of stealthy reconnaissance/strike aircraft being built byNorthrop Grumman, allegedly. But who knows if any of it is true… It could be–thereis precedent in the Lockheed F-117 and RQ-170. However, it’s not like we’regetting confirmation anytime soon.

 

I didn’t have much time, but here is a photo of a replica ofthe Wright Flyer…DSCN0125WFlyer.jpg

 

And some sort of civilian aircraft… I’ll be frank, I didn’tcheck the label, so I have no idea what it is… Like I said, I had less than anhour, so time was of the essence and there were other military aircraft Ineeded to see.DSCN0126unkAC.jpg



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