Tag Archives: Lockheed

Bullet the Blue Sky

This is the Lockheed U-2 ‘Dragon Lady’, an aircraft from the 1950s that is still in service today, flying on the edge of space. Designed for the Cold War, but carrying no weapons, the U-2 is able to operate at an altitude of over 70,000ft, taking photographs of the ground beneath it.

Believed to be out of range of ground-to-air missiles, the U-2 was flown extensively over the Soviet Union, supplying the United States with information on nuclear development, missile locations, and airbases.

Unfortunately for the U.S this theory proved inaccurate when, on May 1st 1960, a U-2 flown by Francis Gary Powers was successfully shot down. The Soviets had been tracking the aircraft from 15 miles outside of the border, and an indirect missile-hit brought the U-2 down, with Powers miraculously surviving.

The U.S didn’t believe that a pilot would survive a crash from 70,000ft and thus stuck to a pre-written cover story that the U-2 had drifted into Soviet airspace after the pilot became unresponsive. The Soviet Union cleverly let the U.S release their lie to the world before revealing that Powers was alive and had admitted spying under interrogation. Oops.

Powers spent a year and a half in prison before being swapped in a prisoner exchange at Glienicke Bridge between East and West Germany. He subsequently returned to the U-2 programme working for Lockheed before losing his life in a helicopter crash in 1977.

Amazingly though, the Lockheed U-2 is still in service today, with the United States Air Force taking over operations from the CIA. This splendid recreation of their incredible aircraft was constructed as a commission by Jonah Padberg (aka Plane Bricks) whose brilliant H145M rescue helicopter featured here earlier in the week.

Jonah’s model captures the iconic Cold War aircraft in stunning accuracy and there lots more to see of his superbly built and presented Lockheed U-2 spy plane at his photostream. Click the link above to fly to 70,000ft and take a look.

*Today’s excellent title song.

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Holiday Heroes II

Today’s earlier post remembers the heroes of the emergency services, who – unlike the underserving muppets here at TLCB – work over the holiday period keeping us alive. From the amazing National Health Service we enjoy in TLCB’s home nation to the fire, police, mountain rescue and lifeboat services that operate every day of the year, there are heroes in every town, village and street.

However one group that often gets forgotten, particularly in the current woke culture that sometimes attempts to undermine their existence, are the armed forces. They too work over the holidays, unseen, largely forgotten, and ready to protect us turkey-eating muppets on Christmas Day as they would on any other.

This find is one example of that group, the Canadian Armed Forces’ very cool looking Lockheed F-104 ‘Starfighter’ in ‘Red Indian’ Squadron markings. Part of NATO, these F-104s operated out of 421 Squadron in West Germany during the Cold War, following their introduction by the Canadian Air Force two decades earlier.

This superb replica of the CAF Lockheed F-104 ‘Starfighter’ is the work of Flickr’s John C. Lamarck and it captures the iconic aircraft (and its unusual CAF ‘toothbrush’ colour scheme) beautifully. There’s more of the build to see at John’s photostream and you can head to an airbase in West Germany c1983 via the link above.

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Constellation

This gorgeous Lockheed Constellation airliner was discovered by one of our Elves on Flickr today. Built by the aptly-named BigPlanes it’s a fully fitted mini-figure scale replica of the iconic triple-tailed aircraft, complete with a highly detailed cabin including cockpit, toilets and even a kitchen!

The Constellation first flew in the early 1940s and was produced until 1958, by which point jets were quickly replacing piston engined aircraft. The ‘Connie’s four piston engines were eighteen-cylinders each, and allowed the plane to fly at over 375mph (faster than a Mitsubishi Zero fighter!) and for 3,500 miles.

The Constellation was also the first mainstream aircraft to feature a pressurised cabin, and saw deployment by both the military and civilian airlines with carriers including Air France, Pan-Am, and – as shown here – Trans World Airlines.

Still in limited service today we think the Constellation is one of the most beautiful airliners of all time, and BigPlanes’ Lego recreation certainly does it justice. Head over to his photostream via the link above check out more images of his spectacular model including some wonderful interior shots.

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Lightning Bolt!

Lightning is always cool. OK, not always; this guy took some liberties. But other than that it’s cool. One of fastest and most terrifying forces in nature, lightning also makes a for a great aircraft name. It’s been used twice that we know of, the second being the unhinged English Electric Lightning and the first being this; the glorious Lockheed P-38J Lightning. The Lockheed P-38’s usual (and we think quite beautiful) twin boom design makes it an oddity in the aircraft world, and even more so considering it first entered service in 1941.

Deployed as a bomber, a long range escort fighter, a ground attack craft, for photo reconnaissance, and as a night fighter, the P-38 flew throughout the entire American involvement in World War Two in a vast array of theatres, with over 10,000 produced in just 4 years.

This colourful mini-figure scale version of the iconic warbird comes from previous bloggee John C. Lamarck of Flickr, who has done a wonderful job recreating the P-38 Lightning in lego form. The hand-drawn decals add to the cartoonish nature of the build too, and there’s more to see at John’s photostream by clicking here.

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Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird | Picture Special

Lego SR-71 Blackbird

First flying in 1964 the amazing Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird is still the world’s highest flying and fastest manned air-breathing aircraft, despite retiring back in 1999. With a top speed in excess of Mach 3 (that’s over 3,500km/h!), the Blackbird could fly higher and faster than even missiles.

Lego SR-71 Blackbird

Such incredible altitude and speed meant the SR-71 needed to be built from very exotic materials, specifically titanium; which made up 92% of the airframe. The U.S. didn’t have access to titanium itself, so had to source it from the USSR, with which the Blackbird was of course designed to fight during the Cold War. A complicated route via fictitious organisations and third-world economies delivered the newly acquired Soviet titanium ore to the U.S, where it was used to build a plane to spy on the Soviets… isn’t military history fun!

Lego SR-71 Blackbird

In total thirty two Lockheed SR-71 Blackbirds were constructed, with the final two being used by NASA until the late 1990s. During a long operational life twelve aircraft were lost to accidents, but thanks to the SR-71’s ludicrous speed and primitive radar-defying stealth technology not a single plane was downed by enemy action.

Lego SR-71 BlackbirdToday the surviving Blackbirds reside in America’s aerospace museums (or at NASA), but we’ve got one more to add to the SR-71 alumni, thanks to Flickr’s Plane Bricks and this awe-inspiring Lego replica of the world’s most spectacular aircraft. Put simply Plane Bricks’ stunning recreation of the SR-71 Blackbird is one of the most complete and impressive Lego aircraft that we’ve ever come across, with a suitably extensive gallery of superb imagery available on Flickr. Click the link in the text above to reach Mach 3.3 and take a look.

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Dear Marie

Lego Lockheed P-38 Lightning

One of our favourite aircraft builders returns to TLCB today. MOCpages’ Henrik Jensen‘s Lockheed P-38 Lightning ‘Marie’ is worth a click. See more via the link.

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Technic Control Centre III

Lego SR-71 BlackbirdThe Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. The fastest plane ever built. The first to use stealth technology. And, according to Michael Bay, a Decepticon Transformer too. This most unbelievable of aircraft was finally retired from service in 1998, some 40 years after it was trialled. 32 were built, with 12 lost in accidents, leaving 20 remaining. Sariel takes that total to 21.

Lego Technic Control Centre IIISariel’s stunning mini-figure scale version of America’s finest is more than a great replica. Mounted on a Power Functions controlled arm, reminiscent of LEGO’s own 8485 Control Centre II from 1995, his SR-71 can really fly. Sort of. A three-axis joystick and a working thrust controller operate a variety of motors and linear actuators, allowing the Blackbird to pitch, yaw and rotate. See how on MOCpages at the link above, or view the video on YouTube below.

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