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"Black" Projects are projects which are developed in secret. Even their public funding is hidden inside Federal Budgets. These planes include some of the Top Secret Projects developed by the United States.

Have Blue in hanger
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Signed by Ken Dyson

Have Blue

 

Two prototypes built by Lockheed’s Skunkworks in Palmdale, California, at Lockheed’s Plant 10. One focused on the flying qualities of the design. The second to confirm the low RCS (Radar Cross Section) signature of the plane.

 

Powered by 2 GE J85 non-afterburning jet engines

Length 38’

Wingspan 22’

Height 7’ 6”

Top speed 600 mph

 

 

Pilots

Bill Park

Ken Dyson

 

First flight of XST-1, “Have Blue 1001,” by Bill Park on Dec. 1, 1977 at Groom Lake. Last flight on May 5, 1978. Bill Park ejected after the right main landing gear jammed in the up position when a system-induced pitchdown slammed the plane abruptly into the runway during a low speed landing. Bill Park performed several touch and goes but was unsuccessful in lowering the gear.

 

First flight of XST-2, “Have Blue 1002,” on July 20, 1978 by Ken Dyson. Last flight on July 11, 1979.  The plane suffered a loss of both hydraulic systems after a duct containing hot jet exhaust failed and released hot gasses into the fuselage. Ken Dyson ejected safely.

Two YF-12s flying in formation
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Tacit Blue in flight
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Signed by Dick Thomas and Ken Dyson

Tacit Blue

 

One prototype built by Northrop in Hawthorne, California. The plane rolled out in 1982. The design was partially inspired by engineer Fred Oshira during a visit to Disneyland. Oshira was riding the Mad Hatter’s Teacup ride when he viewed Monstro the Whale in the Storybook Land Ride. The whale’s head is a complex curved 3-D shape that would prove to minimize RCS from all three directions.

 

Powered by 2 Garrett ATF3-6 jet engines

Length 55’ 10”

Wingspan 48’ 2”

Height 10’ 7”

Weight 30,000 lbs

Top speed 287 mph

135 flights

 

Pilots

Dick Thomas

Ken Dyson

Wes Easter

Don Cornell

Dan Vanderhurst

 

First flight Dick Thomas in February 1982. The program lasted 3 years and was declassified in 1996.

Bird of Prey in flight
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Signed by Doug Benjamin

Bird of Prey

 

One prototype built by McDonnell Douglas/Boeing’s Phantom Works in St. Louis, MO. It was among the first aircraft to incorporate large, single-piece composite structures.

 

Powered by a Pratt & Whitney JT15D-5C turbofan engine

Length 47’

Wingspan 23’

Height 9’ 3”

Weight 7,400 lbs

Top speed 300 mph

38 flights

 

Pilots

Rudy Haug

Doug Benjamin

Joe Felock

 

First flight in Fall of 1996, last flight in 1999 and was declassified October 18, 2002.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A NASA SR-71 at takeoff
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Both of these pictures displayed above are signed by the following pilots:
 

Louis Schalk (First Flight A-12), Jim Eastham (First Flight YF-12), Robert Gilliland (First Flight SR-71), Ronald "Jack" Layton, Mele Vojvodich, Dennis Sullivan, Ken Collins, Fitz Fulton, Frank Murray, Eldon Joersz, Bill Weaver, Don Mallick and Ed Schneider.

The "Blackbird," "Sled," or "Habu" as it has been called, was comprised of three different models. The A-12, a single seat CIA plane, the YF-12, a two seat air to air interceptor and the most famous SR-71 two seat reconnaissance plane.
 
A-12 first flight April 25th, 1962 pilot Lou Schalk tail #06924
YF-12 first flight August 7, 1963 James Eastham tail #06934
SR-71 first flight December 22, 1964 Bob Gilliland tail #61-7950
 
 
 
 

U-2 In Flight
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U-2 in flight
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What says Black Project more than the classic U-2, or Dragon Lady? First planned flight on August 4th, 1955 by Tony Levier. These two images were kindly signed by the Gathering of Eagles 2005 Inductees. Louis Setter, Harry Andonian, Bob Riedenauer, Tom McMurtry and Don Sorlie.