Up at the singular US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville today, and, of course, visited the A-12. She's looked better.
The Blackbird is the greatest plane in history, as well as one the greatest inventions [read why here]. So what's to become of this one?
In 2014, the Space Center unveiled a plan to turn the plane into signage [you can read the plan here], not unlike CIA HQs' Blackbird. But they need half a million bucks is the thing.
Let me just get this out of the way: Made of titanium, the Blackbird doesn't rust, by the way, though the ferrous metal in the radar-absorbing paint and rivets does. So we're talking a fresh coat of paint needed to remedy the superficial problem. The bigger issue is one faced by preservationists everywhere: After you preserve it, what the heck do you do with it? I would love to start a Blackbird Museum—if it were sustainable, but, as much as I love the BBird, most people only know as the Blackbird as the smaller version of the Raven. And readers ask me if that 2,400-mph spy plane in my novel Once a Spy is real.
Please hit me with your thoughts via the below email form, or in the comments.
UPDATE 6-15: I've just received word from the Space and Rocket Center that, thanks to contributions from Blackbird fans, among others, the A-12 will be restored later this summer. I'll write another post re: that when I have more info.