Click to largerify
The Lockheed P-38 Lightning is a damn sexy bird. It was primarily used in the Pacific Theater during WW2 as a bomber, night fighter, ground attack, and long range escort. It was extremely forgiving, but that meant it was also not quite as maneuverable as some of the other fighters in the war. Therefore, it’s use as a dogfighter was limited. It was also the only US aircraft to be in production from Pearl Harbor through V-J Day. Hit the jump for a video of the P-38J at the Chino Planes of Fame Museum, 23 Skidoo, startup and taxi. Crank up the speakers and immerse yourself in the sound of the two turbo-supercharged Allison V-1710-89/91 engines.
Continue reading P-38 Engine Start
Note The Radiator Between the Engines
[image National Air Force Museum]
Towards the end of the war several unusual prototypes made their way off the drafting board. This modification was yet another example of an aircraft answering a need that didn’t actually exist.
Continue reading The Boeing XB-38 Watercooled Fortress
The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. Nevada mountains sold separately.
I’ve spent most of the morning emailing back and forth between suppliers trying to coordinate details and approving valve performance tests. Emailing. I have done in 4 hours what would have taken days not that long ago. Yet, I look at aircraft like the SR-71 which, from contract award to first prototype, took just under 2 years and I wonder…have we really advanced?
Now that your brain is working, let’s get the rest of your body working after the jump.
Continue reading Blackbird Pron
Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star
An answer was needed to counter the Messerschmitt ME-262 jet fighter. The U.S. Air Force gave Kelly Johnson and his team at Lockheed six months to develop a modern jet fighter in 1943.
Continue reading Follow The Shooting Star – The Lockheed P-80
Just a really cool picture, no idea of who took it.
Continue reading Vintage Celluloid
In the 1960s, American Airlines was looking for a jet smaller than a 747 that could still fly long distances and carry 400 passengers. They approached Lockheed, who was reeling from the loss of some military contracts. Lockheed decided to give it a go, and wound up with a tri-jet configuration that would go by the name Lockheed L-1011 “Tristar”. Only 250 were produced, meaning Lockheed took a major loss on each one. Problems with engine supplier Rolls Royce hampered production. Meanwhile, the very similar Douglas DC-10 was stealing the show…and customers.
Continue reading Not Stock: Orbital Sciences L-1011
The Lockheed XF-90 was one of the most pure jet fighter designs of the Cold War. Although like most fighters of the era it was underpowered and heavy but as with most things in life you can get away with murder when you look this good.
Continue reading An Arrow To The Heart Of The Enemy: Lockheed XF-90
In the early days of the Cold War knowing when the commies would come over the North Pole with their bombs and imperial intentions was a very high priority for the military. We built the Distant Early Warning Line of radar installations that would let SAC know to scramble interceptors and let the Secret Service know to get the President down to the bunker. However, that row of radar in northern Canada was limited to watching the sky over land. What if the Soviets came around over the ocean?
Continue reading Lockheed Warning Star: Connie Gets Mean
A lineup of A-12s, quite possibly at Groom Lake
The U-2 reconnaissance aircraft was developed and became operational in the mid 1950s, and while it was successful, CIA officials had predicted that the aircraft’s useful lifetime for flights over the USSR would only be around 18 months. In its first flights over Soviet territory, the U-2 was detected and tracked very successfully by their air defense warning system. Efforts were made to make the U-2 less vulnerable, and new advances in radar-absorbent materials were tried and were successful to a degree, but not enough to solve the problem. A number of different analyses determined that supersonic speed made radar detection less likely, and it was decided that an extremely fast, high flying aircraft that also incorporated the best stealth technology available was the approach to take.
Continue reading Making OXCART