Photo pick: November 2014


An unusual one for me, but bear with me! I was really taken with this plane, along with many of the other exhibits, on a recent trip to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford near Cambridge. This is the Lockheed SR-71, an American spy plane nicknamed the Blackbird. No plane has ever flown higher or faster, and yet it was built in the 1960s! One of the things that struck me at Duxford, which gives a really good overview of aviation history, was how quickly things developed from precarious gliders and airships at the turn of the 20th century to amazing mean machines like this, capable of flying at three times the speed of sound. But development then levelled off, and many craft that were cutting edge 30 or 40 years ago are still the record-holders today. It’s an interesting reminder that progress doesn’t always follow the trajectory you expect.

I’m really pleased with the photo; I think it captures the key characteristics of the Blackbird – simplicity and menace – perfectly.

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