Today's Featured Artist: Michael Godard
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David Bowie Remembered - A Collection of Unpublished Portraits by Terry O'Neill
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Painting - Acrylic
The Blackbird was the ultimate product of the brilliant mind of aeronautical engineer Clarence "Kelly" Johnson and his "Skunk Works" - the super-secret cadre of innovators at Lockheed. First flown in 1964 and operationally retired in 1998, the Blackbird is still recognized as the fastest and highest flying operational aircraft to ever have flown. Easily surpassing Mach 3 (though the real top speed is still classified), an SR-71 flew from New York to London in 1 hour and 54 minutes in 1974. It was known to leak fuel at prodigious rates on the grount as its skin was designed to have gaps, but the expansion of the metal at speed (and thus high heat) sealed the plane up tight. Skin temperatures are thought to have reached red hot temperatures at certain points at high speed. The innovations within the Blackbird design were legion, including the first effective stealth techonology. on top of its extreme speed and endurance. The SR-71 was designed for one role - photo reconsassance. At 80,0000 feet the cameras in the plane could photograph a license plate and cover over 100,000 square miles of the Earth's surface in an hour. It may be generations before we are allowed the information that will quanitify how truly effective this machine was in that role. The ultimate Cold War platform, the Blackbird's legacy lies in the fact that the war never became hot.
July 22nd, 2010
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