Academic journal article Air & Space Power Journal

Mach 3+: NASA/USAF YF-12 Flight Research, 1969-1979

Academic journal article Air & Space Power Journal

Mach 3+: NASA/USAF YF-12 Flight Research, 1969-1979

Article excerpt

Mach 3+: NASA/USAF YF-12 Flight Research, 1969-1979, Monographs in Aerospace History no. 25, by Peter W. Merlin. NASA History Division, Office of External Affairs (http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/history.html), NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C. 20546, 2002, 154 pages. (To obtain a copy of this monograph, send a self-addressed, flat-rate, priority-mail envelope [8'' x 11''] to the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center History Office, Mail Stop 1613, P.O. Box 273, Edwards, California 93523.)

Although literature on the Mach 3+ "Blackbird" is plentiful in the popular-aviation press, this recent volume by Peter Merlin and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) offers something entirely new. A well-illustrated and detailed book on NASA's flight-testing of the YF-12, Mach 3+ will appeal to anyone interested in an overview of the technical aspects of high-speed flight research, as well as to the "buff" who craves more coverage on the design and operation of this fascinating aircraft.

Still able to outperform other jets in speed and altitude, the Blackbird began life in the 1950s under Kelly Johnson's now-famous Lockheed "Skunk Works" design team. The aircraft, designated the A-12, first flew as a reconnaissance platform for the Central Intelligence Agency; its design produced interesting variants along the way to the one best known to us-the SR-71. …

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