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Our Trip to Palmdale - Airforce Plant 42 and Blackbird Park

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posted on Aug, 24 2010 @ 07:09 PM
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We recently spent some time In Palm Sprigns and on the way home decided to go home via Palmdale and visit the Mecca of aviation.

For those who dont know, Palmdale is home to Air Force Plant 42. The Skunk Works are there, along with Lockmart, NG, etc.

The B-2, F-117, U-2, A-12, MD-21, D-21, YF-12, SR-7, at al, were all produced there. We went around the perimeter of the Plant, and was able to take one picture before we attracted the attention of security. When Im by myself I usually dont care and stand my ground, but when you are there with your family, its a different matter.

Skunk Works


No Picture Warning


D-21 Drone At Blackbird Park. The otherside of the drone is in pretty bad shape and need of restoration


Sr-71 Article 17973 and A-12 Article 06924 from head on. My son Matthew is 49 inches tall to give some perspective.


A-12 Head On with pitot tube


Triangle wing filets are easily spotted on the chine


Head on F-117. This Nighthawk was part fo the 410th Test wing.


The once highly classifed "plataypus" exhaust


Pole Model of B-2. Not sur eif it was used for RCS test. I recently found that Burt Rutan of Scaled Composites had some inolvement in the B-2 program.



Closeup of panel on model


Anybody know what the WM stands for???

I took alot more pics, but will post them later.




posted on Aug, 24 2010 @ 08:02 PM
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Nice!

For the WM, in my city here in Canada, WM stands for waste management. And the funny thing it, the logo is exactly the same!

S&F, always nice to see some personals taken by ATS members.



posted on Aug, 24 2010 @ 08:13 PM
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Working Model?
Western Models? (makes aircraft models)



posted on Aug, 24 2010 @ 11:57 PM
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WM = Whiteman AFB..



posted on Aug, 25 2010 @ 11:54 AM
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The B-2 model is not a test article. It is a decorative model that was probably donated by Northrop Grumman. There are a number of them around the Antelope Valley in front of schools and the A.V. College.

The Blackbird Airpark is home to a unique collection of aircraft, all products of the famed Skunk Works.

There is a U-2D (Article 388 or USAF serial no. 56-6721) that was constructed as a U-2A at Lockheed’s factory in Oildale, California. In October 1957, it was delivered to the CIA’s Detachment G at Edwards Air Force Base and then transferred to the 4080th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Laughlin Air Force Base, Del Rio, Texas. During a training flight by a Taiwanese pilot on 5 August 1959, the airplane was damaged in a belly landing at Cortez, Colorado. While undergoing repairs, it was modified to accommodate a second crewman as well as a suite of equipment to measure infrared emissions from aircraft and missiles. Re-designated U-2D in 1959, the airplane was assigned to the Special Projects Branch of the 6512th Test Group. During the 1970s, the U-2D was used for thunderstorm research, camera evaluations for NASA’s Tiros and Nimbus weather satellites, and served as a chase plane for COMPASS COPE unmanned aerial vehicles. Students from the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards occasionally had opportunities to fly the airplane as part of their studies. The U-2D was retired in 1980 and put on display at the March Field Museum in Riverside, California, until 1996. It was then returned to Lockheed Martin’s facility at Air Force Plant 42 for restoration, and was eventually placed on display at the Blackbird Airpark in November 2001.

The Blackbird Airpark's A-12 is the first one built, Article 121 or USAF serial 60-6924. It was trucked to the Area 51 test site in February 1962 and made its first flight in April 1962. Article 121 was designated the primary testbed for airworthiness and handling qualities, envelope expansion, airframe/powerplant integration, subsystems, and propulsion. Throughout its service life, Article 121 served as resident test article, bailed to contractor. In January 1964, Lockheed test pilot James Eastham took Article 121 to a maximum Mach number of 3.3 with 15 minutes cruise time above Mach 3.2. Following the successful completion of 322 flights (418.2 hrs.), Article 121 was stored at Lockheed’s facility at Air Force Plant 42, Palmdale, California, on 6 June 1968. It was placed on permanent display at Blackbird Airpark in September 1991.

The D-21B drone is Article 525, the 25th TAGBOARD airframe built. It still exists because it never flew a mission. Following termination of the program, it was stored at Norton Air Force Base, California, and eventually transferred to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, in 1976. Article 525 was delivered to NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California, on 1 June 1994 and loaned to Blackbird Airpark in October 1994.

The SR-71A (Article 2024, USAF serial 61-7973) was built in 1966. Lockheed test pilots Bill Weaver and Darryl Greenamyer took it up on its maiden flight on 8 February 1967. The airplane was assigned to the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Beale Air Force Base, California. While much of its operational history is shrouded in secrecy, it is known that Article 2024 was ferried to the 9th SRW’s operating location (OL-8) at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan, on 27 September 1969. Over the course of the next 20 months, it was flown on 62 training missions and 45 operational sorties over Southeast Asia, returning to Beale on 8 June 1971.
After the airframe was overstressed during an air show demonstration in England in May 1987, the airplane was retired, making its last flight on 21 July 1987 with a total of 1,729.9 flight hours. It was placed on display at Blackbird Airpark in September 1991.

The most recent addition to the Airpark is the YF-117A (Article 783, USAF serial 79-10783), the fourth Full Scale Development airframe. It was delivered to the Area 51 test site on 5 December 1981. Lockheed pilot Tom Morganfeld flew it for the first time on 7 July 1982. Two functional check flights by Air Force pilots were followed by several weeks of infrared signature measurements. This was followed by integration of avionics for Infrared Acquisition and Designation System trials. From 24 April to 23 July 1984, Article 783 was flown against F-14, F-15, F-16, and EF-111A aircraft to collect air-to-air threat analysis data. Afterward, the airplane was used alternatively between low-observables tests and integration of improvements to navigation and weapon delivery systems. In October 1984, two Navy pilots used Article 783 to conduct a performance review to evaluate the F-117A for carrier suitability. In March 1989, Article 783 was officially accepted by the Air Force. In 1998, Article 783 became the first F-117A modified in the Single Configuration Fleet program, a four-month test series to evaluate an optimized radar-absorbent coating to improve maintainability. In April 2004, the airplane was used to evaluate a two-tone grey camouflage paint scheme. Article 783 was retired in March 2007 with 2,464.6 flight hours and placed on display at Blackbird Airpark on 3 March 2008.

The Blackbird Airpark is the only place to see all of these black (in every sense of the word) aircraft al in one place.



posted on Sep, 1 2010 @ 02:34 PM
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Originally posted by FredT
When Im by myself I usually dont care and stand my ground, but when you are there with your family, its a different matter.

Skunk Works




Drive by Sunday mornings when doors are open enough for a quick peek. LOL! There is a nice shaded sitting area out back by train tracks.



posted on Sep, 1 2010 @ 03:53 PM
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reply to post by LSWONE
 


"POINT IS"....although it might be thought of as some 'secret' stuff...it really isn't??

Guess that is what most of us have known, all along?

IOW...the REAL "TS" stuff isn't going to be accessible to prying eyes, yes?



posted on Sep, 1 2010 @ 06:03 PM
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Originally posted by weedwhacker
reply to post by LSWONE
 


"POINT IS"....although it might be thought of as some 'secret' stuff...it really isn't??

Guess that is what most of us have known, all along?

IOW...the REAL "TS" stuff isn't going to be accessible to prying eyes, yes?



So are you joking with me or asking? Things are still designed here and built. None of the cool stuff is in the hangar when the doors are cracked. The big hangar is not a big room. It is partitioned. Have you guys ever seen the smaller one to the north open?


[edit on 1-9-2010 by LSWONE]



posted on Aug, 5 2015 @ 12:40 AM
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a reply to: FredT

Sort of surprising, National Geographic had something on this late at night. Dunno the title but it was pretty interesting. The guy may as well have come from ATS.



posted on Aug, 5 2015 @ 12:52 AM
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a reply to: FredT

Those were cool. I especially like the irony of the no pics allowed sign.



posted on Aug, 15 2015 @ 07:54 AM
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Old thread, funny it has popped up as we just traveled through Palmdale. The airpark is unchanged Minus the F-117 which is odd.



posted on Aug, 15 2015 @ 09:52 AM
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a reply to: FredT

Yeah, I noticed it missing when we went through there too. They moved it to Edward for restoration a few years back since it took quite a beating sitting outdoors for so long. It is part of the museum collection at Edwards now.

www.edwards.af.mil...
edit on 15-8-2015 by Sammamishman because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 16 2015 @ 11:56 PM
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a reply to: Sammamishman


Cool I was wondering were it ended up. This years public tour of the Flight Test museum at Edwards seems to be booked and I lack a sponsor to get on the base to check it out. We did make the only show they had post 911 but the museum was closed then.

The had someone at the shop this time and had an interesting chat. He said that the SR at March AFB was one of the only ones that had an fully metal chine area on the front. We treked out there are sure enough it lacked the triangular composite material that makes up the chines on all of the otherones we have seen. Ill post a thread up on that one later.



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