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Palmdale in Los Angeles County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Blackbird Air Park

Air Force Plant 42

 
 
Panel #1: Blackbird Wind Tunnel Model<br>(One-Twelfth Scale) image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
1. Panel #1: Blackbird Wind Tunnel Model
(One-Twelfth Scale)
Inscription. [Panel #1]
Blackbird Wind Tunnel Model
(One-Twelfth Scale)

Aircraft models such as this are used in high-speed wind tunnels to test aerodynamic shapes, stresses, and temperatures. This particular model was used for testing all three versions of the Blackbird--the A-12, YF-12, and SR-71--through the use of different nose sections. It is displayed with an SR-71 nose section installed. The nose section on the left is a YF-12 and the one on the right is an A-12.

[Panel #2]
Pratt & Whitney J58
(JT11D-20)

Originally developed by Pratt & Whitney in 1956 to fill a U.S. Navy requirement for an aircraft capable of dash speeds up to Mach 3. After the Navy abandoned the project, Lockheed and Pratt & Whitney worked together to develop the engine for the A-12 (Blackbird prototype). The J58 was designed to operate continuously at the high compressor inlet temperature (CIT) associated with high Mach number flight at extreme altitude. At speeds above 1600 mph, the J58 essentially becomes a ramjet with a majority of the thrust developing from airflow through a combination of variable geometry supersonic inlets, bypass doors, and ejector flaps. Preparation for display by the 6510 CRS Propulsion Branch.

This engine is on loan from the USAF Museum
Panel #2: Pratt & Whitney J58<br>(JT11D-20) image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
2. Panel #2: Pratt & Whitney J58
(JT11D-20)
Program.

[Panel #3]
J58 Engine Starter Cart
(Early Buick Type)

This cart was developed originally for the A-12 Blackbird and was used later on the SR-71 until replaced by the Chevy-powered version (on display under the SR-71). it used two Buick "Wildcat" V8 racing car engines, linked together through a common gearbox, to deliver power to the starter drive shaft of the aircraft engine. More than 600 hp from the two engines was required to "spool up" the J58 to about 3,400 rpm for starting.

[Panel #4]
J58 Engine Starter Cart
AG-300/AG-330

This cart was used to start the J58 engines on the SR-71 Blackbird. Two Chevy 454 cu in engines with automatic transmissions were hooked together to power a hydraulic pump which operated the system. A probe extended upward into a starting pad on the J58, providing torque for turning the engine which was then chemically started with tetraethyl borane (TEB).

This unit, affectionately known as "Black Beauty," was dressed up and used by the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing to provide SR-71 engine starts at airshows worldwide.

POWER: Two 454 Chevy V8s with Turb-Hydramatic 400 transmissions
WEIGHT: 51800 lbs
TORQUE: 700 ft lbs maximum
MAX RPM: Engine - 5200 Probe - 6916 Jet Rotor Shaft - 339

[Panel
Panel #3: J58 Engine Starter Cart<br>(Early Buick Type) image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
3. Panel #3: J58 Engine Starter Cart
(Early Buick Type)
#5]
Lockheed A-12

The A-12 was the proof-of-concept vehicle for the SR-71/YF-12 family of "Blackbirds." It was the 12th in a series of designs for a U-2 replacement from Kelly Johnson's "Skunk Works" at Lockheed, hence the designation "A-12." Although its operational service is shrouded in secrecy, research indicates the A-12 was used in covert operations by the CIA during the 1960s.

Of the fifteen A-12's produced, this is the prototype aircraft, #60-6924--the first one built and flown. It completed its maiden flight on 26 April 1962 with Lockheed test pilot Louis Schalk at the controls (it did, however, momentarily lift off during a high-speed taxi check two days earlier). Restoration courtesy of Lockheed Advanced Development Company.

This aircraft is on loan from the USAF Museum Program.

[Panel #6]
Lockheed D-21 Drone

The D-21 was an unmanned, ramjet-powered craft designed to be air--launched from atop an A-12 (redesigned M-21) mother ship. It was conceived as a reconnaissance platform that would fly over high-threat targets without endangering a pilot. After acquiring photos of its target, the D-21 would return to a safe area and eject a hatch containing the reconnaissance equipment. As the hatch was lowered by parachute, it would be recovered in mid-air by a JC-130B Hercules.
Panel #4: J58 Engine Starter Cart<br>AG-300/AG-330 image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
4. Panel #4: J58 Engine Starter Cart
AG-300/AG-330
The project was terminated after a fatal accident on the fourth test launch. Four operational missions were later flown from B-52 launch aircraft. This D-21 is on loan from NASA.

[Panel #7]
Lockheed SR-71A

The SR-71A reached a speed of Mach 1.5 during the maiden flight from Plant 42 on Dec 22, 1964. After extensive flight testing at nearby Edwards AFB, the Blackbird entered operational service with the Strategic Air Command (SAC) in Jan 1966 at Beale AFB, California. Primary overseas operating locations were Kadena AB, Japan and RAF Mildenhall, England. On Mar 6 1990, and SR-71 set a transcontinental coast-to-coast record, flying 2,404 statute miles in 68 min 17 sec.

This aircraft #61-7973, was delivered to SAC in 1968. it served its entire career in operational reconnaissance with the 9th SRW. It's last flight was July 21, 1987 from Mildenhall to Plant 42. it has 1729.9 total flying hours. Restoration courtesy of Lockheed Advanced Development Company.

This aircraft is on loan from the USAF Museum Program.
 
Erected by USAF Museum Program.
 
Location. 34° 36.168′ N, 118° 5.156′ W. Marker is in Palmdale, California, in Los Angeles County. Marker is at the intersection of East Avenue P
Panel #5: Lockheed A-12 image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
5. Panel #5: Lockheed A-12
and 25th Street East, on the right when traveling west on East Avenue P. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2503 East Avenue P, Palmdale CA 93550, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. James J. Stegman 1920 - 2009 / A-4C Skyhawk (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Stanley P Butchart 1928 - 2008 / C-140 Jetstar (about 400 feet away); B-2 Spirit (about 400 feet away); F-86F-30 (about 400 feet away); Palmdale School House (approx. 1.9 miles away); Lamont Odett Vista Point (approx. 4.8 miles away); The San Andreas Fault (approx. 4.8 miles away); The Aerospace Valley (approx. 4.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Palmdale.
 
Also see . . .  Clarence L. "Kelly" Johnson Lockheed Aviation Legend - A Biography 1910-1990. (Submitted on January 2, 2012, by Michael Kindig of Long Beach, California.)
 
Categories. Air & SpaceWar, Cold
 
Panel #6: Lockheed D-21 Drone image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
6. Panel #6: Lockheed D-21 Drone
Panel #7: Lockheed SR-71A image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
7. Panel #7: Lockheed SR-71A
Blackbird Wind Tunnel Model image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
8. Blackbird Wind Tunnel Model
Blackbird Wind Tunnel Model image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
9. Blackbird Wind Tunnel Model
Pratt & Whitney J58 image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
10. Pratt & Whitney J58
Pratt & Whitney J58 (intake) image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
11. Pratt & Whitney J58 (intake)
Pratt & Whitney J58 (exhaust) image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
12. Pratt & Whitney J58 (exhaust)
Pratt & Whitney J58 image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
13. Pratt & Whitney J58
Lockheed A-12: Engine exhaust nozzles image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
14. Lockheed A-12: Engine exhaust nozzles
Tail No: 60-6924
LAC No: 121
Lockheed A-12: Air Inlet Control System (AICS) image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
15. Lockheed A-12: Air Inlet Control System (AICS)
Tail No: 60-6924
LAC No: 121
Lockheed A-12: Canopy image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
16. Lockheed A-12: Canopy
Tail No: 60-6924
LAC No: 121
Lockheed A-12: Cockpit instrument control panel image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
17. Lockheed A-12: Cockpit instrument control panel
Tail No: 60-6924
LAC No: 121
Lockheed A-12: Nose image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
18. Lockheed A-12: Nose
Tail No: 60-6924
LAC No: 121
Lockheed A-12 image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
19. Lockheed A-12
Tail No: 60-6924
LAC No: 121
Lockheed A-12: Starboard all-moving fin image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
20. Lockheed A-12: Starboard all-moving fin
Tail No: 60-6924
LAC No: 121
Lockheed A-12: Port all-moving fin image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
21. Lockheed A-12: Port all-moving fin
Tail No: 60-6924
LAC No: 121
Lockheed A-12: Nose gear image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
22. Lockheed A-12: Nose gear
Tail No: 60-6924
LAC No: 121
Lockheed D-21 Drone (forward) image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
23. Lockheed D-21 Drone (forward)
Lockheed D-21 Drone (forward) image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
24. Lockheed D-21 Drone (forward)
Lockheed D-21 Drone (aft) image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
25. Lockheed D-21 Drone (aft)
Lockheed SR-71A image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
26. Lockheed SR-71A
Tail No: 17973
LADC No: 2024
Lockheed SR-71A: Air Inlet Control System (AICS) image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
27. Lockheed SR-71A: Air Inlet Control System (AICS)
Tail No: 17973
LADC No: 2024
Lockheed SR-71A: Canopies image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
28. Lockheed SR-71A: Canopies
Tail No: 17973
LADC No: 2024
Lockheed SR-71A: Forward cockpit instrument control panel image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
29. Lockheed SR-71A: Forward cockpit instrument control panel
Tail No: 17973
LADC No: 2024
Lockheed SR-71A: Aft cockpit instrument control panel image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
30. Lockheed SR-71A: Aft cockpit instrument control panel
Tail No: 17973
LADC No: 2024
Lockheed SR-71A image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
31. Lockheed SR-71A
Tail No: 17973
LADC No: 2024
Lockheed SR-71A: Port all-moving fin image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
32. Lockheed SR-71A: Port all-moving fin
Tail No: 17973
LADC No: 2024
Lockheed SR-71A: Nose gear image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
33. Lockheed SR-71A: Nose gear
Tail No: 17973
LADC No: 2024
Lockheed SR-71A: Main gear image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
34. Lockheed SR-71A: Main gear
Tail No: 17973
LADC No: 2024
Lockheed U-2 image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
35. Lockheed U-2
Tail No: 66721
Lockheed U-2 image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
36. Lockheed U-2
Tail No: 66721
Lockheed U-2 image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
37. Lockheed U-2
Tail No: 66721
Lockheed U-2 image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
38. Lockheed U-2
Tail No: 66721
Lockheed U-2 image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
39. Lockheed U-2
Tail No: 66721
S-970 Pilot's Protective Assembly image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
40. S-970 Pilot's Protective Assembly
This full pressure suit is an early 1960s model Pilot's Protective Assembly (PPA) developed and manufactured by David Clark Company for pilots of the A-12 Blackbird.

The full pressure suit was designed to protect aviators agains very low barometric pressure during flights above 50,000 feet altitude for extended periods of time, replacing more restrictive partial pressure suits, which where less desireable for long duration flight.

In addition to providing hyperberic protection, the PPA was designed to protect aircrews from the high temperatures and othe potentially hazardous environments inherent in Mach 3+ flight at high altitudes.

The PPA was developed specifically for the A-12, YP-12A and SR-71 Blackbirds beginning in 1960 with Model S-901, and evolved through numerous improved models, including S-970, S-901J and S1030. A variant model S1030A Ejection Escape Suit incorporating an anti-G suit was developed for NASA space shuttle astronauts for STS-1 through STS-4 Orbital Flight Tests.

The model S1031C PPA was developed in the mid-1960s as a common PPA for both the SR-71 and U-2 aircraft.
Memorial Pavers image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
41. Memorial Pavers
A-12 YF-12 SR-71
Rest In Peace!
Skunk Works Insignia image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
42. Skunk Works Insignia
Skunk Works Insignia image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
43. Skunk Works Insignia
Commemorative Patch image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
44. Commemorative Patch
40th Anniversary
1962 - 2002
A-12 First Flight
CIA Lockheed USAF
Commemorative Patch image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
45. Commemorative Patch
1 May 1965
SR-71/F-12 Test Force
Mach 3+
500 Km 1000 Km
15/25 Km - Altitude
Blackbird Air Park image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
46. Blackbird Air Park
Air Force Plant 42 image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, April 27, 2002
47. Air Force Plant 42
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 31, 2011, by Michael Kindig of Long Beach, California. This page has been viewed 1,484 times since then and 67 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47. submitted on December 31, 2011, by Michael Kindig of Long Beach, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.
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