Area 51 Spy Plane, Other Aviation Tales

Feb 05, 2014 No Comments by

It looks like an upside-down bathtub with wings, pretty odd for a spy jet that was among the nation’s most highly classified pieces of military hardware. As I stand in front of the plane code-named Tacit Blue at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, near Dayton, Ohio, I’m reminded that it still holds a bit of mystery.

Engineers made fun of Tacit Blue’s design by nicknaming it the Whale, but the program — declassified in 1996 — was deadly serious. It was all about stealth. Pentagon Cold War strategists desperately wanted to build planes that could evade Soviet radar.

And so the Air Force launched a “black program” to develop Tacit Blue and tested it at a secret government airbase in Nevada called “Area 51,” according to CIA documents released in 2013.

For the complete story by Thom Patterson of CNN, click here.

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Online Editor I've been around airplanes since I was a kid. That's when my uncle, a professional pilot, showed me how to fly his Cessna 177 Cardinal. l later became a writer and editor, so covering the exciting and ever-changing aviation industry -- which I've been doing in Flight Journal's Flybys since the late '90s -- was a natural fit.
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