USN F-18 reported hypersonic aircraft

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
Just about a decade after its first flight, it was brought out of the black world and into the gray world.......existance acknowledged, but still top secret. There really was no choice but to.
 

Lawman

Well-Known Member
@MikeD wasnt the F-117 revealed decades after it was flying around?

U.S. Navy pilots reportedly spotted UFOs over East Coast


All these years in the air and I haven’t seen crap.
There was stuff from the same eras going on that went a lot longer in secret, and some stuff out there served and retired completely in the black.

Really as MikeD said the only reason the 117 was ever declassified was necessity to allow us to really use it to its fullest extent. That means planners need to know about it (something they didn’t that resulted in 111s and A-6 attacks on Libya), exercises need it to participate so it can build its play book (and we can see how to defeat it), and logistics for it need to be distributed because you need to deploy it and can’t just have a box marked “secret do not open” just sitting without somebody asking questions.

Developmental stuff though... that can pretty much operate invisibly for as long as the secret remains a secret. Tacit Blue was such an example having been developed, flown, and retired. Then declassified a full decade later when it was placed in the museum. If you weren’t on that project you didn’t know it existed.
 

bimmerphile

SuperCritical™ Member
There was stuff from the same eras going on that went a lot longer in secret, and some stuff out there served and retired completely in the black.

Really as MikeD said the only reason the 117 was ever declassified was necessity to allow us to really use it to its fullest extent. That means planners need to know about it (something they didn’t that resulted in 111s and A-6 attacks on Libya), exercises need it to participate so it can build its play book (and we can see how to defeat it), and logistics for it need to be distributed because you need to deploy it and can’t just have a box marked “secret do not open” just sitting without somebody asking questions.

Developmental stuff though... that can pretty much operate invisibly for as long as the secret remains a secret. Tacit Blue was such an example having been developed, flown, and retired. Then declassified a full decade later when it was placed in the museum. If you weren’t on that project you didn’t know it existed.
I saw Tacit Blue at the museum of the air force, it was the only airplane that had me saying "what in the hell is that?" Makes you wonder what else is still out there completely in the black.
 

Lawman

Well-Known Member
I saw Tacit Blue at the museum of the air force, it was the only airplane that had me saying "what in the hell is that?" Makes you wonder what else is still out there completely in the black.
People now who only grew up and experienced a world with instant internet must find it impossible to understand how easily some of these programs were concealed.

There was a period of time in its service where the SR-71 was completely hidden from existence despite a very large apparatus to operate it. Even when it was known, it wasn’t something you could just get a picture of or have seen a dozen times on the internet. My dad was in the Air Force during one of the those “oh crap” moments with the “we can neither confirm nor deny” phase of Blackbird becoming more and more acknowledged as something more than just a rumor or number designation. The Aircraft had to do an emergency landing in Florida which resulted in a giant black non existent spy plane being parked on an airfield right next to A1A for a couple days. Needless to say despite the very best efforts to park trucks and stuff around it, traffic was lined up for miles of people stopping to snap a photo of the big black jet parked at Patrick. Especially after one of the pilots went out and drew the state of Florida on the tail in white chalk.

Compare that to today, where the Navy can have a sheet metal and wood model sitting on its deck for a few hours to film a terrible movie and the internet explodes about the Secret Stealth F-14 replacement being test flown by a dude who looks suspiciously like Jamie Fox.


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Skåning

Well-Known Member
Wasn't there some secret Blackhawk with a weird tailrotor and other stealth ish that crashed trying to get Bin Laden? Never seen a pic or real drawing of that thing except for the burned up hulk in the compound.
 

mrivc211

Well-Known Member
Just about a decade after its first flight, it was brought out of the black world and into the gray world.......existance acknowledged, but still top secret. There really was no choice but to.
I'm kinda bummed I dont get to drool at what they got flying around out there. 100% I don't buy that alien bull ish. Haven't a lot of spy planes been spotted by our own military guys that didn't know of their existance?
 

Lawman

Well-Known Member
Wasn't there some secret Blackhawk with a weird tailrotor and other stealth ish that crashed trying to get Bin Laden? Never seen a pic or real drawing of that thing except for the burned up hulk in the compound.
Yes

I'm kinda bummed I dont get to drool at what they got flying around out there. 100% I don't buy that alien bull ish. Haven't a lot of spy planes been spotted by our own military guys that didn't know of their existance?
It gets way more fun than that. The test pilot for our first experimental jet (when nobody knew what a Jet was) went a step further in maintaining the secret through subterfuge. The test pilot of the USAF's first jet fighter dressed as a gorilla to mess with other pilots
 

Oxman

Well-Known Member
Wasn't there some secret Blackhawk with a weird tailrotor and other stealth ish that crashed trying to get Bin Laden? Never seen a pic or real drawing of that thing except for the burned up hulk in the compound.
And now it's on Youtube.
 

thevideographer

Well-Known Member
There was a period of time in its service where the SR-71 was completely hidden from existence despite a very large apparatus to operate it. Even when it was known, it wasn’t something you could just get a picture of or have seen a dozen times on the internet.
There was also a time when the [future] designer of the U2 and SR-71 saw some weird UFO stuff that he couldn't explain, shortly before moving to Area 51. True story, look it up.
 

Lawman

Well-Known Member
There was also a time when the [future] designer of the U2 and SR-71 saw some weird UFO stuff that he couldn't explain, shortly before moving to Area 51. True story, look it up.
What do you mean just saw? Kelly Johnson was a space alien. He disguised himself as a engineer only so he could accelerate the pace of our technology so as to repair his ship.

It’s the only plausible explanation for what that guy came up with when everybody else was drawing crude pictures of B17s with pods and flames blowing out the back going “look at my super awesome jet bomber?” Meanwhile Kelly has a single engine airplane operating at 70k feet 10 years we were smart enough to squirt air and gasoline into a pipe and set it on fire.
 
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knot4u

Repeat Offender
What do you mean just saw? Kelly Johnson was a space alien. He disused himself as a engineer only so he could accelerate the pace of our technology so as to repair his ship.

It’s the only plausible explanation for what that guy came up with when everybody else was drawing crude pictures of B17s with pods and flames blowing out the back going “look at my super awesome jet bomber?” Meanwhile Kelly has a single engine airplane operating at 70k feet 10 years we were smart enough to squirt air and gasoline into a pipe and set it on fire.
From what I've read about the Skunkworks a large portion of Kelly Johnsons success was attributable to his management style, he was a hard ass taskmaster that somehow also gave his people enough freedom and confidence to do their best work. Since the whole operation was in one building the people building the airplanes and the people designing and engineering them would frequently interact when an issue arose. For a lot of reasons I doubt that duplicating what the Skunkworks was back then would be possible today. I can remember as a little kid seeing that building with the cartoon of a skunk on one side and my dad, who was an enthusiast, telling me about what had been built there and what might be going on at the time. I'm still a bit offended they tore the whole place down, what a waste of history.
 

bimmerphile

SuperCritical™ Member
From what I've read about the Skunkworks a large portion of Kelly Johnsons success was attributable to his management style, he was a hard ass taskmaster that somehow also gave his people enough freedom and confidence to do their best work. Since the whole operation was in one building the people building the airplanes and the people designing and engineering them would frequently interact when an issue arose. For a lot of reasons I doubt that duplicating what the Skunkworks was back then would be possible today. I can remember as a little kid seeing that building with the cartoon of a skunk on one side and my dad, who was an enthusiast, telling me about what had been built there and what might be going on at the time. I'm still a bit offended they tore the whole place down, what a waste of history.
I don't have any academic knowledge of the subject to offer, but my uncle was a race car engineer from the mid 70s til he retired last month.
It sounds like a similar vibe. Back in the 70s and into the 80s, F1 teams were like 14 dudes fielding a car. The engineers would be at the track on the weekend, getting feedback from the drivers and adding their own strategy to the team as the season progressed. As time marched on, the big money teams with manufacturer engineering depts became disconnected from the actual product and never went to the track. They stayed at the mothership and crunched numbers. Now they're giant monstrosities that really only move forward because of remote data collection and analysis.

There are few true racers left in the world, and even fewer aerospace masterminds like Kelly. It takes a lot of talent, a manager who is both brilliant and autonomous, and hands on contact with the project to think way outside the box and get the unfair advantage.
 

knot4u

Repeat Offender
I don't have any academic knowledge of the subject to offer, but my uncle was a race car engineer from the mid 70s til he retired last month.
It sounds like a similar vibe. Back in the 70s and into the 80s, F1 teams were like 14 dudes fielding a car. The engineers would be at the track on the weekend, getting feedback from the drivers and adding their own strategy to the team as the season progressed. As time marched on, the big money teams with manufacturer engineering depts became disconnected from the actual product and never went to the track. They stayed at the mothership and crunched numbers. Now they're giant monstrosities that really only move forward because of remote data collection and analysis.

There are few true racers left in the world, and even fewer aerospace masterminds like Kelly. It takes a lot of talent, a manager who is both brilliant and autonomous, and hands on contact with the project to think way outside the box and get the unfair advantage.
If you'd like to try something similar yourself look around your area for Reno sport class racer that might need a helping hand. I'd suggest the Unlimiteds but it seems like these days that class lacks competitiveness. If you've ever just gotten the enthusiasm for aviation trampled out of you going to Reno might reignite the spark, especially if you're involved with a team. Just a group of people working towards a common goal.
 

Box hauler

Well-Known Member
From what I've read about the Skunkworks a large portion of Kelly Johnsons success was attributable to his management style, he was a hard ass taskmaster that somehow also gave his people enough freedom and confidence to do their best work. Since the whole operation was in one building the people building the airplanes and the people designing and engineering them would frequently interact when an issue arose. For a lot of reasons I doubt that duplicating what the Skunkworks was back then would be possible today. I can remember as a little kid seeing that building with the cartoon of a skunk on one side and my dad, who was an enthusiast, telling me about what had been built there and what might be going on at the time. I'm still a bit offended they tore the whole place down, what a waste of history.
Was he a hard ass taskmaster or a hard task ass master? I personally believe he was both.
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
I was going fishing with my dad when the roads into the Sierra foothills were closed. Apparently an A-7 doing “experimental work” had been lost and there were radioactive materials that were being secured.

Hell, even the farmers didn’t buy it. That “secret” was out far before the DOD revealed what actually happened or even that the F-117 existed.
 

bimmerphile

SuperCritical™ Member
If you'd like to try something similar yourself look around your area for Reno sport class racer that might need a helping hand. I'd suggest the Unlimiteds but it seems like these days that class lacks competitiveness. If you've ever just gotten the enthusiasm for aviation trampled out of you going to Reno might reignite the spark, especially if you're involved with a team. Just a group of people working towards a common goal.
Oddly enough that's exactly what happened at sun n fun. One of the guys at my airline works on the lancair that won sport class last year, looking forward to seeing it this year. Not sure how much my shoddy machining skills can help, but it seems like an interesting endeavor
 

Springer

Well-Known Member
Hell, even the farmers didn’t buy it. That “secret” was out far before the DOD revealed what actually happened or even that the F-117 existed.
I was TDY to Nellis AFB a few times in the early '80's and it was pretty well known what the A-7's were being used for. No idea what they were flying up North though. Prior to that in the late '70's we had AF units flying against Migs secretly flown out of Tonopah under the exercise code name Constant Peg. As I recall my sister squadron flew against them. Our squadron only flew against the F-5 Aggressors.
 
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