Yep, it’s a D-21 drone. You can see one at the Blackbird airpark in California. Also in Seattle you can see the one remaining M-21 (M for mothership) with the D-21 mounted on the back. My model is a representation of this single surviving aircraft.
Here is a good brief write up on this one:
It’s all come flooding back, i think im more used to see the pics of it mounted under a B-52 wing but i can picture a 80s tech-thriller/game/something in my library somewhere whose cover art is an artists impression of one leaving the Blackbird. Special internet pats on the back if anyone can find it.
and it was certainly cooler looking than actually any good eh…
The first one failed to turn around and continued straight on, crashing somewhere in the Soviet Union. Another test flight was conducted on 20 February 1970 in a successful attempt to correct any problems. The second operational mission, however, was not until 16 December 1970. The D-21B reached Lop Nor and back to the recovery point, but the hatch had a partial parachute failure and was lost at sea with its photographs.
During the third operational mission, on 4 March 1971, the D-21B flew to Lop Nor and returned, and released the hatch, which deployed its parachute, but the midair recovery failed and the hatch fell into the water. The destroyer that tried to retrieve the hatch ran it down and it sank. The fourth, and last, operational flight of the D-21B was on 20 March 1971. It was lost over China on the final segment of the route over China’s Yunnan province; wreckage was found by local authorities. In 2010, after being in the junkyard of China Aviation Museumfor years, the wreckage was moved to the exhibition area
Just chiming in to say that’s really cool–thanks for sharing!
@midnight.mangler As our resident blackbird man, could you share
A) the most probable theory explaining the blackbirds retirement,
B) the most fun theory explaining the blackbirds retirement?
Also, holy fuck @ that big tail story. That’s some insane engineering! Yeah well just articulate the whole thing.
Seems to me anyone with that many models of the X-Men’s jet is more of an X-Men geek.
Mangler, that is freaking inspired
How long did it take to make these? Blended and weathered in meticulous detail… airbrush I assume?
That’s what I’m talking about! Flight sim games are to regular PC games as PC games are to console games. The masters of the PC master race show their colors, lol.
What an awesome toy! I love the box. “Cobra/Enemy!”.
Is that yours? Looks rare and vintage…
I just started my first ever Ace Combat (any number) campaign. Simple arcade controls, check. And wait a minute, I have how many missiles? Okaaaay…
Seriously, it’s a lot of fun.
I see there’s a plane that needs to get unlocked by being promoted? How do I get promoted? With points? But I’m a convict. I don’t even have a rank anymore…
If the whole game was VR, I’d re-buy it on PS4 (and pick up PSVR) in a second. Because I’m that big a flight sim geek. But not for 3 missions, alas.
If they bring out more (or patch in VR multiplayer!), do all the PSVR units on the shelves now fix the “doesn’t pass through HDR” problem?
Nah, I just found the image online. A friend of mine had one when we were kids and I was always jealous.
Pretty sure the line of unlocks that requires the rank is the multiplayer line.
The campaign unlocks just require finishing missions.
If you’re thinking of the lock at the bottom of the tree, if you to play multiplayer to get ranks. But it’s all multiplayer-only upgrades down there.
Yes, this has been fixed for a couple years.
The most probable theory is budgetary politics. The most insane theory is they developed something better. I believe the former. It’s quite possible that today they have unmanned hypersonic drones we don’t know about. Or the satellites are much better - but you are still constrained by orbital mechanics in what you can see and how frequently. But back when they mothballed them I think it was politics plain and simple rather than a compelling alternative.
Such a shame - its a work of engineering genius that rivals anything done in the last century. Ask anyone who knows jack about planes and they will tell you it looks futuristic today - even though the first A-12 flight was in 1962…
That’s sacrilege pure and simple!
It took a long time, maybe a year and a half. :-) I need to come clean here and say I didn’t build them - I commissioned a very talented person to build them for me. If I recall we started with only three and then decided to go the whole hog in the end. A lot of custom work was done - no model kits today properly represent the A-12 or the A-12 trainer, let alone the other variants.
I have been obsessed with the Blackbird for a long time but lacked the skill to do it justice. It was a passion project of sorts.
I would even say that just like in spaceflight, we seem to have peaked in the late 60s, and 70s. Bit sad really. The gizmo’s have evolved beyond startrek, engine tech has benefitted from materials work and CAD/CAM but the airframes themselves are really seem not to be moving forward much at all.