Category Archives: FAST HISTORY

FAST HISTORY: THE WESTLAND 30

              The Westland 30 is one of those aircraft that made it to production but probably shouldn’t have. On the outside the aircraft looked like a flying barn, short and squat, and that is … Read the rest of this entry

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FAST HISTORY: LONG BEFORE THE MQ-8 FIRE SCOUT THERE WAS THE QH-50 DASH

In the new era of unmanned combat aircraft so many “new ideas” are actually far from fresh. In fact, it is stunning to examine unmanned technologies from decades ago, and realize just how far ahead of their time they truly were. … Read the rest of this entry

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FAST HISTORY: THE F-94C STARFIRE “FLYING BOTTLE ROCKET”

                    I have always been fascinated with the timeframe between the widespread deployment of jet fighters for the first time and the introduction of the guided air to air missile. Engineering was really … Read the rest of this entry

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AST HISTORY: THE BOY THAT WON A GEMINI CAPSULE!’

                                      This ad ran in 1967, at the height of the Space Race, and was a huge marketing hit for the folks … Read the rest of this entry

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IT COULD HAVE BEEN: THE RF-117 RECONNAISSANCE NIGHTHAWK

Shortly after the massive success of the F-117A Nighthawk during the Operation Desert Storm, Congress and Lockheed moved together to support buying 24 more F-117s that would be primarily configured as reconnaissance platforms. The jet would have additional cockpit interfaces … Read the rest of this entry

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FAST HISTORY: LOCKHEED’S DIVERTERLESS SUPERSONIC INLET TESTBED F-16

                Before there was the mound like intake bulges and racked intake cowlings seen on the American F-35 and Chinese J-20, JF-17, J-10 and J-31, there was Lockheed’s Diverterless Supersonic Intake F-16 testbed. … Read the rest of this entry

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FAST HISTORY: A HANDFUL OF USAF & CIA U-2s WERE CAPABLE OF AERIAL REFUELING

Lockheed modified less than a dozen U-2s with aerial refueling capability. By doing so the Dragon Lady, as it is now fondly called, doubled its operational range from about 4,000 miles to 8,000 miles, and could stay aloft for over … Read the rest of this entry

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PREDATOR vs FOXBAT: THE FUTURE OF AIR TO AIR COMBAT VIA DRONE BEGAN ALMOST A DECADE AGO

One of the most frequently asked questions I get asked is “when will drones take on the air to air fighter role?” I have answered this with a constellation of pieces and will continue to do so with some upcoming … Read the rest of this entry

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WHY IS THE STEALTHY F-117 NIGHTHAWK STILL FLYING?

I am trying to catch up with reader requests and one common strain of emails pertains to questions surrounding why the F-117 Nighthawk, America’s first stealth attack aircraft, is still flying around the Nellis Range Complex years after it’s official … Read the rest of this entry

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IT COULD HAVE BEEN: THE GARGANTUAN CONVAIR XC-99

Everyone loves big planes. The bigger they are the more interesting they become. Famed mammoths like Howard Hughes’ HK-1 “Hercules,” otherwise known as the “Spruce Goose,” and Antanov’s gigantic An-225 “Dream” conger up feelings that man has somehow cheated nature … Read the rest of this entry

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BLAST FROM THE PAST: BLUE ORIGIN’S VTOL ROCKET A COUSIN OF THE McDONNELL DOUGLAS DC-X “DELTA CLIPPER”

NASA’s Commercial Crew initiative is getting barraged with cutback requests on Capitol Hill, and now the House is preparing to vote on legislation that would require NASA to immediately downselect a single commercial spaceflight purveyor from the eclectic list of … Read the rest of this entry

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FAST HISTORY: THE STRAIGHT DOPE ON THE HUGHES HK-1 HERCULES, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE “SPRUCE GOOSE,” BY THE MEN WHO DESIGNED & BUILT HER

Howard Hughes’s monstrous HK-1 Hercules got me interested in aviation at a very early age. Something about it, the size obviously, but also the time and the person behind it made it so special. When I was very young my … Read the rest of this entry

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INSEPARABLE TO THE END: TWO COLD WAR TREASURES, SEA SHADOW & THE HUGHES MINING BARGE, MAY FACE THE SCRAPPER’S TORCH

I am flabbergasted, stunned really, that an air and space museum, such as the USS Midway in San Diego, has not snapped up the legendary Hughes Mining Barge (HMB-1) and the Lockheed Sea Shadow (IX-529) from the US Navy for … Read the rest of this entry

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FAST HISTORY: The BOLT-117 Laser Guided Bomb

The BOLT-117 (BOLT standing for BOmb Laser Terminal) paved the way for the legendary Paveway series of laser guided bombs (LGBs) that have changed the course of modern warfare as we know it. The BOLT-117 was born out of the great need during the Vietnam War … Read the rest of this entry

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