posted on Mar, 11 2007 @ 06:56 PM
Just a quick note since Ghost mentioned that Ben Rich referred to the D-21's mothership as the "M-12" whereas I called it the M-21:
It was the M-21.
Kelly Johnson decided to reverse the digits (1 and 2) so as to avoid confusion with the A-12. It was a fairly arbitrary decision. The mothership and
drone should have been the M-12 and Q-12, but they ended up as M-21 and D-21 (or M/D-21 when mated).
I don't like the 21 designation myself, but we're stuck with it. Lockheed engineering documents use the term M-21.
Some authors (including Rich) mistakenly called it the M-12, leading to continued confusion among researchers. Other instances of poor research or
mistaken designations continue to plague us. Examples include:
A-11: The YF-12A (a.k.a. AF-12) was never actually designated "A-11" despite numerous usages of the term in presidential announcements, press
releases, commemorative items, etc. Worse still, official USAF inventory records list the A-12 fleet as A-11s.
A-12B: This was not the trainer (Article 124). The sole A-12 trainer variant was designated TA-12. It's in the pilot's flight records. The
second A-12 (Article 122) was later upgraded to SR-71 standard and redesignated A-12B in Lockheed engineering reports.
YF-12C: There never was a YF-12C. It was a bogus designation for the second SR-71A (Article 2002) while it was in NASA service. It had no
characteristics that differentiated it in any way from any early SR-71A. This airplane was also not a replacement for the YF-12A (Article 1003) that
crashed. Article 2002 was supposed to be the third aircraft in the joint USAF/NASA fleet, joining Article 1002 and 1003. Unfortunately, Article 1003
crashed the very same day that a NASA press release announced the addition of a third airplane.
Serial numbers: The myth of a "64" fiscal year prefix in SR-71 serials persists because it ihas been re-published so many times, even by some
Blackbird experts. The SR-71 serials have a "61" prefix despite the fact that the first flight took place in late 1964. SR-71 serials run from
61-7950 through 61-7981. All official documentation bears this out.