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View Diary: My Favorite Airplane (311 comments)

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  •  Dragon Lady (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eyesoars, Simplify, Otteray Scribe

    Though to a groundpounder like me it'll always be the Cyclops.

    Just outside the hangar doors was parked the Mothership.

    You can see the lift cradle inside the number 5(?) engine. On the side are stenciled all of its drops, including a number of X-15s (about the one thing that makes a Blackbird look slow). At the time I think it was carrying the X43.

    •  Never heard "cyclops" before... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alefnot, Otteray Scribe

      What's the history there?

      I have some old NASA summary reports on the X-15, including all the flights and their pilots (Armstrong, Crossman, ...) but have no photos of anything related to it.  Thanks for the photos!  The mothership is gorgeous, as is the dragon lady.  My memory of U-2 photos is of black aircraft, not white.

      I'd argue that the space shuttle makes the X-15 look slow, but for a glider the shuttle's glide ratio is pretty sad.  The X-15 was the epitome of cool in my childhood.

      •  Re: Cyclops (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Otteray Scribe, Simplify, eyesoars

        No history -- AFAIK it's just me. It's just that the first thing you see when it comes in is a giant single spotlight.

        These are actually research aircraft (civvy version I think is called ER-2). They provided among other things much of what we know about the ozone hole. I've been on campaigns with them though never had anything on board (I was on the DC8, below, so I'm not really a groundpounder)

        The 8 didn't have anything like the ceiling of the ER-2 of course, but could carry a lot more and could profile the column in a way that the ER-2 could not. Here's an image from below 1000' ASL in the middle of the Pacific. Try that in an ER-2!

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