The Blackbird Takes Flight

Today in History, December 22, 1964:

The SR-71 “Blackbird” reconnaissance aircraft has it’s first test flight from Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California.

The remarkable first “stealth” aircraft’s defense against missiles fired at it…was to simply outrun the assault from it’s ceiling of 70,000 feet at Mach 3…2,200 miles per hour. The skin of the aircraft was designed to expand with the heat of the speed.

A Kamikaze in London

Today in History, April 9, 1937:

A Kamikaze in….London.

In the 1930’s most nations were attempting to set aircraft range records…for the sake of doing so and for military purposes.

The Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun sponsored the flight of the “Kamikaze-Go”, a long range reconnaissance aircraft from Tokyo to London in honor of the coronation of King George VI.

Arriving at it’s destination in a little over 51 hours, the aircraft was greeted in London by cheering crowds.

It’s pilot, Masaaki Iinuma, became a Japanese national hero, hailed as the Japanese Lindbergh. He and his navigator, Kenji Tsukagoshi would both be killed during WWII.

The aircraft would crash, be recovered, and placed in a museum which would be destroyed by aerial bombardment.

The aircraft type would be used as a long range recon plane during the war. The whole thing began as the Japanese designed aircraft that could reach their far-ranging territories.