Been spending a lot of time on here!
- Dec 14, 2005
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- Photos OK to edit
That appears to be a vertical stabilizer on the aircraft, with what appears to be a third engine. Never saw one like that before; it wasn't that way on the YF-71 (the earlier, fighter model)
Didn't really think about it before. Now I've got a mystery to solve, unless someone knows about it here. (Barbarian checks) Ah, it's a drone.
A Blackbird is on display at "The Museum of Flight", Boeing Field near Seattle-Tacoma Airport. This one is actually an A-12 (early version of the SR-71) with a D-21 drone installed between the vertical stabilizers ( photo at right). The D-21 was designed to be launched from the A-12, flying unmanned over unfriendly territory (accurate designation was the M-21 when mated with the D-21 drone). Kelly Johnson cancelled the program when a D-21 was launched into the area behind the cockpit of the M-21 resulting in loss of the Launch Control Officer's life and loss of the aircraft. The "Museum of Flight" A-12/Drone display is the only combo in existence.
SR-71 Questions and Thoughts about the Blackbird