CIA

First U-2 pilot recalls when the only U-2 pilot to fly over Moscow nearly died and crashed into Red Square after he almost bit his poison cyanide pill in half

First U-2 pilot recalls when the only U-2 pilot to fly over Moscow nearly died and crashed into Red Square after he almost bit his poison cyanide pill in half

Vito felt his throat go dry as he approached Moscow for the first time—who could blame him? So, he fished… Read More

4 weeks ago

Skunk Works Director Ben Rich recalls when CIA financed the A-12 Oxcart with secret funds and back-door payments to Lockheed with personal checks to Kelly Johnson for more than $1 million

‘Everything about the A-12 Oxcart program was dark alley, cloak and dagger. Even the way they financed the operation was… Read More

2 months ago

Two Blackbird Mach 3 Spy Planes were Hit by North Vietnamese Air Defenses: one A-12 was hit with shrapnel, another Oxcart was damaged by SAM debris

How close did a Blackbird Mach 3 spy plane ever come to being shot down? The iconic SR-71 Blackbird spy… Read More

2 months ago

CIA engineer recalls when specks of insects hoisted from atomic tests in Russia and China were found on an A-12 windshield after an Oxcart mission

‘We had the specks lab tested, and they turned out to be organic material—insects that had been injected into the… Read More

2 months ago

The story of How the U-2 got its name: Test Pilot Tony LeVier flipped off Kelly Johnson, Johnson flipped off in return LeVier and yelled, “U-2” [You Too]!

‘Tony LeVier [the test pilot who flew the first flight of the U-2] was sitting at Bob Gilliland’s bar when… Read More

3 months ago

The story of the A-12CB, the Oxcart Carrier Based Mach 3 Spy Plane that never was

The A-12CB (Carrier Based) was a minor study for a major change in operations for the Oxcart: flight to and… Read More

4 months ago

Last of only six pilots to fly the A-12 for the CIA legendary Oxcart program passed away

Frank Murray, the last of only six pilots to fly the A-12 for the CIA legendary Oxcart program, passed away… Read More

6 months ago

Ghosts of Groom Lake: the story of the F-101 Voodoo aircraft tasked to support the then top-secret A-12 program test flights at Area 51

In addition to their A-12 chase and training duties, these F-101 Voodoos were tasked with the interception of any unauthorized… Read More

7 months ago

Did you know? To keep the A-12 project secret CIA stored in boxes Oxcart spy planes and moved them from Skunk Works production site to Area 51

Since the CIA wanted to keep the A-12 project secret, it determined that the Oxcart could not be tested at… Read More

7 months ago

The weird story of when Kelly Johnson received a bag with $30 million in cash to pay for the first six CIA U-2 spy planes

The guy has on a fedora and a trench coat with a pink carnation in the lapel. Johnson says he… Read More

8 months ago

SR-71 Vs A-12: project Nice Girl, the recon fly off between the Blackbird and the Oxcart and why the SR-71 was chosen over the A-12

From Oct. 20 to Nov. 3, 1967 the A-12 and the SR-71 were pitted against each other in a recon… Read More

8 months ago

That time an Air America UH-1D Huey shot down a North Vietnamese An-2 Colt Biplane

This engagement marked the first CIA air-to-air victory and the only kill achieved by a helicopter against a biplane. The… Read More

9 months ago

Carmine Vito was the only U-2 pilot to fly over Moscow: five Soviet MiGs launched to intercept his flight got lost or collided

Several MiG fighters scrambled to intercept him, too. As with previous flights, the intercepts failed. Soviet fighters could not approach… Read More

10 months ago

Tagboard Flyers: the story of the B-52 bombers that carried the D-21 Mach 3 ramjet-powered reconnaissance drones

The D-21 had originally been designed for launch from the trisonic Lockheed A-12 but difficulties (culminating in a fatal accident)… Read More

12 months ago

Did you know that the Fulton-equipped B-17 that saved 007 in the movie Thunderball had also flown the longest B-17 mission ever?

The longest B-17 Flying Fortress mission ever lasted more than 19 hours and was flown over China by a Taiwanese… Read More

1 year ago

After an A-12 flight specks of insects hoisted from the atomic test explosions in Russia and China were found on the Oxcart windshield

‘A weird thing was that after a (A-12) flight the windshields often were pitted with tiny black dots, like burn… Read More

1 year ago

U-2 pilot describes how Carmine Vito, the only U-2 pilot to fly over Moscow, almost bit his poison cyanide pill in half while flying over Soviet Union

‘He started to suck on it. Luckily, he realized his mistake in a split second and spit it out in… Read More

1 year ago