Geezer
Topic Author
Posts: 1413
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:37 am

Rare Pictures Of A-12 Being Transported

Wed Apr 24, 2013 6:54 am

Anyone who is interested in the A-12 or the SR-71 should find this web site very interesting. Back in the late 1950s when Lockheed Aircraft was building the first A-12 aircraft at the famous "Skunk Works", they were faced with the huge problem of transporting a bunch of the first ones built, from the plant at Burbank, Ca. to the test center at Area 51 in Nevada.

This website explains the whole thing.........how they hauled them on specially built trailers which had a removable aluminum tubular framework placed over the airplanes, with heavy rubberized covers over the framework so no one could see what they were hauling. What hardly anyone realized at the time they were doing this, someone at Lockheed had arranged to have photographs taken all along the route; amazingly, these photographs were stored away and all but forgotten about until fairly recently.

They had the California Highway Patrol escorting them, they even had to widen a few road-cuts out with earth moving equipment, cut a few trees down, remove a few road signs, and numerous other problems which were encountered along the way.

Apparently, a bunch of "old guys" got together and formed the "Road Runners International", which is made up of retired Lockheed employees, at least one A-12 pilot, a former C.I.A. security guy. With the special "box" in place over the planes, the load was either 30 or 35 feet wide, and long enough that they had two guys with steering wheels who could steer the rear trailer wheels. At one point when they had to pull off to the side so everyone could eat, they got the back end of the trailer buried 2 feet deep in sand !


http://www.roadrunnersinternationale.com/transporting_the_a-12.html

Charley
Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
 
User avatar
SOBHI51
Posts: 3715
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2003 1:32 pm

RE: Rare Pictures Of A-12 Being Transported

Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:16 am

Quoting Geezer (Thread starter):
http://www.roadrunnersinternationale.com/transporting_the_a-12.html

Great pictures.
Thanks
I am against any terrorist acts committed under the name of Islam
 
AeroWesty
Posts: 19551
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 7:37 am

RE: Rare Pictures Of A-12 Being Transported

Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:54 am

Amazing that they took these over the Grapevine. That would have been fairly harrowing driving down the northside with that load before it was interstate the whole way.
International Homo of Mystery
 
User avatar
Aesma
Posts: 7495
Joined: Sat Nov 14, 2009 6:14 am

RE: Rare Pictures Of A-12 Being Transported

Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:42 am

WIDE LOAD

No kidding !
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
User avatar
Revelation
Posts: 13760
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:37 pm

RE: Rare Pictures Of A-12 Being Transported

Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:27 pm

Awesome link!

I was standing underneath the A-12 at San Diego Bilboa Park just a few weeks ago.

It's kind of amazing to see the number of rivets, hatches, etc in something that went Mach 2+.

Was just fascinating standing underneath it and thinking about where that plane had been and how fast it had gone.

Meanwhile, birds were crapping on it, sigh...
Inspiration, move me brightly!
 
cptkrell
Posts: 3186
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2001 10:50 pm

RE: Rare Pictures Of A-12 Being Transported

Wed Apr 24, 2013 2:27 pm

Great pictures and an interesting read, Charlie. Brings back a few memories of a college roomate at Art Center in L.A. who's brother was somehow envolved in the Blackbird program. He couldn't talk with any degree of specificity because of security, but his hint of "wait 'till you see this thing" certainly rang true. It still does even today IMHO. Thanks again...jack (p.s. kinda neat looking at the old cars, too)
all best; jack
 
Nibog
Posts: 141
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2009 6:35 pm

RE: Rare Pictures Of A-12 Being Transported

Wed Apr 24, 2013 2:36 pm

Excellent and very interesting piece of history reading,would love more like that.The black and white photographs are fantastic,loved the shot of the F101 and the Connie in the background!!!.

Many thanks for sharing.
 
flyingturtle
Posts: 4590
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:39 pm

RE: Rare Pictures Of A-12 Being Transported

Wed Apr 24, 2013 6:46 pm

Thank you very much for this find, Geezer!


These pictures look so outlandish. The slim A-12 and the cars form a certain contrast.


David
Keeping calm is terrorism against those who want to live in fear.
 
Geezer
Topic Author
Posts: 1413
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:37 am

RE: Rare Pictures Of A-12 Being Transported

Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:04 pm

I'm glad everyone is enjoying these pictures. When I first saw them, and saw how wide the load was, I was thinking the same things that many of you were. But now that you have looked at them, I have to tell you something you don't realize, just from looking at those pictures.........

Yes, transporting those big wide loads looks really "hairy", and it really is in some respects, but in some ways, it wasn't nearly as bad as it looks; I'll try to explain why.

Even though the load on that truck was 35 feet wide, it really wasn't terribly heavy; I don't know how much an actual A-12 A/C would weigh, but I know about 100 times as much about big trucks as I do about airplanes; I can tell just from looking at the photos that the old road tractor they had pulling that load, and the trailer they had modified to carry the airplane are not all that heavy, as compared to some of the modern day equipment that's used for transporting oversized loads. I doubt very much if the tractor and trailer together were more than maybe 40,000 to 45,000 pounds. I doubt if the airplane is more than maybe 50,000; the framework that had the cover on it was all light aluminum tubing, so it may have added a few more thousand pounds; all told, the whole thing probably didn't weigh more than 100,000 pounds. And I can guarantee you, they weren't going more than 20 or 25 mph; and down the "Grapevine" ? more like 10 mph;
And they had about 6 sets of "eyeballs" watching every inch of the whole load, all in radio comm. with each other; that right there makes a HUGE big difference.

From about 1971 to 1974, I worked for Doran Transfer & Rigging Company; Just about everything we hauled was either too heavy, too high, too wide, or too long; a few loads were ALL FOUR ! Before you can take oversize loads on public highways, you have to get an oversize permit from the state; and they want ALL the details.......how much it weighs, how wide it is, how long it is and how high it is; anything that can be taken apart and hauled in "pieces"......that's exactly what you have to do. A good example; we had to move a big stick crane from a power plant near Marietta, Ohio on the Ohio River, to another power plant up near Pittsburgh. The whole machine with about 150 of boom probably weighed between half a million to a million pounds; the ONLY way you can move that kind of weight is in a bunch of "pieces"; it took a crew of maybe 20 men about a week to take the thing apart; each crawler track was about four feet wide, by 25 or 30 ft long, and weighed around 30 tons each. That's two truck loads there; the heaviest part of any big crawler crane is always what's called the "center section"; it's one humongus big casting that the crawler tracks attach to, and the "machinery house" with the engine, all of the winches and gears, and the operators cab sits on top of it. All big stick booms are made in 20 to 30 long sections, and are anywhere from about 6 to 10 feet square; each boom section is a truck load.

The people in the state highway departments who issue oversize permits know all of this; and they tell you just how many axles and how many wheels you have to have under each load, depending on how much it weighs.

I don't recall the exact numbers any more, but that one crane move ended up requiring about 40 or 45 truck loads to move it.

The reason I was so fascinated by all of those pictures of moving that airplane was because I was thinking how EASY those guys had it ! They had.....the California Highway Patrol, Nevada S.P. both Highway Departments, about half the small town local cops en route, the Nation Guard, the U.S.Army..........and even the C.I.A. ! Oh....and the Department of Defense! You just can't get any more "official" than that ! By comparison, every time I ever hauled an oversize load, I had ever State Cop, and every D.O.T. guy, PLUS every state weigh station trying to dream up ways to give me a damned ticket, never mind the fact that the company had already paid a few thousand bucks for a permit.

In 1974 I had finally "had it" with all the associated BS involved with oversize stuff and got a job hauling cars; that gig lasted till I retired in 1997.

Charley
Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
 
User avatar
Moose135
Posts: 2555
Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2004 11:27 pm

RE: Rare Pictures Of A-12 Being Transported

Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:44 am

Quoting Revelation (Reply 4):
I was standing underneath the A-12 at San Diego Bilboa Park just a few weeks ago.

It's kind of amazing to see the number of rivets, hatches, etc in something that went Mach 2+.

First time I saw an SR-71 up close (while in the USAF at RAF Mildenhall) I thought the same thing. Of course, when it's at 70,000+ feet, the air is pretty thin, so having a slick, smooth surface isn't quite so vital.
KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!
 
rwessel
Posts: 2448
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 3:47 pm

RE: Rare Pictures Of A-12 Being Transported

Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:38 am

Quoting Geezer (Reply 8):
Even though the load on that truck was 35 feet wide, it really wasn't terribly heavy; I don't know how much an actual A-12 A/C would weigh, but I know about 100 times as much about big trucks as I do about airplanes; I can tell just from looking at the photos that the old road tractor they had pulling that load, and the trailer they had modified to carry the airplane are not all that heavy,

Depending on what was installed, an SR-71 unfueled was somewhere between 56,000lbs and 67,000lbs. I'd assume the early test A-12s were likely towards the low end of the scale, and then you'd save a bunch of weight by removing the engines, the nose, draining the hydraulics, etc. You can see the engines and nose pod removed in the photos, also the outer wing panels and the vertical stabilizers.
 
User avatar
neutrino
Posts: 895
Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 5:33 pm

RE: Rare Pictures Of A-12 Being Transported

Thu Apr 25, 2013 4:45 pm

Quoting Geezer (Reply 8):

Ok Geezer, this is going to be the third instance I am saying it. Must be kinda deja vu to you by now but here goes anyway; that's a loooong and interesting read!  

I was also very lucky to have seen (and touched) the second production A-12; at the Intrepid Museum back in maybe 1991 or 92. Fulfilled half of my topmost aerospace wet-dream of viewing in person the Blackbird and the Valkyrie; my two all-time favorite jet planes.
Potestatem obscuri lateris nescitis
 
HaveBlue
Posts: 2104
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2004 3:01 pm

RE: Rare Pictures Of A-12 Being Transported

Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:58 pm

Great pics Charlie, thanks for the link.

Quoting neutrino (Reply 11):
I was also very lucky to have seen (and touched) the second production A-12; at the Intrepid Museum back in maybe 1991 or 92. Fulfilled half of my topmost aerospace wet-dream of viewing in person the Blackbird and the Valkyrie; my two all-time favorite jet planes.

The Blackbird and Valkyrie are 2 of my 3 top aircraft, the Tomcat rounding out the 3rd. I've been lucky enough to see an A-12 at the Mobile, AL museum; the YF-12 and D-21 drone at WPAFB; the SR-71 at Eglin, Warner Robins, Smithsonian and WPAB; and the XB-70 of course at WPAFB. One of my biggest regrets is never getting to see a Blackbird fly though.. such a shame.

Quoting flyingturtle (Reply 7):
These pictures look so outlandish. The slim A-12 and the cars form a certain contrast.

Exactly! Over the years when I have espoused the futuristic virtues of the Blackbirds I've often pointed out how ordinary the cars looked at the same time that they were churning out this space age, sinister beauty. That contrast has hit me since I first started learning about the BBirds as a teenager.
Here Here for Severe Clear!
 
fridgmus
Posts: 1296
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:28 am

RE: Rare Pictures Of A-12 Being Transported

Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:13 am

Once again, Great Post Charlie!

I've been through a lot of the CA high desert, it looks nothing like the photo's on the web page! Times sure have changed, as we all know.

I love that aircraft! I wonder what, with today's technology, would the SR-71 be capable of?

Thanks again,

F
The Lockheed Super Constellation, the REAL Queen of the Skies!
 
Geezer
Topic Author
Posts: 1413
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:37 am

RE: Rare Pictures Of A-12 Being Transported

Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:58 am

My thanks to everyone for taking the time to look ! I guess in all fairness I should tell you how I happened to find this website; My dear wife, Arlene went to a Catholic girls school and graduated from the Catholic High School for girls; her parish also had a High School for boys; "things" were completely different back then, especially for the girls and boys that attended these two schools. The ONLY boys any of the girls were allowed to "socialize" with, were the boys form Leo HS; (and then only for a few well chaperoned dances at the school; one boy from Leo "had his eye" on Arlene; she was "uninterested"; they were friends, that's it; so after Arlene graduated in 1960, it's the last she heard of this boy; until about 5 years ago; she had somehow got on "Facebook"; somehow, the "boy"........( who was now a retired executive from a big downtown Chicago company), found Arlene's name on Facebook; after much emailing back and forth, he happened to mention that he had a son who was a famous guitarist; to make a long story short, we had met his son 3 yrs before, and enjoyed his group so much, we had gone back to see them every fall at a festival in Brazil, Ind. (near where we live)

This man has sent Arlene at least 2, 3 or 4 emails every single day since they first bumped into each other on Facebook; it get's better.........both are big history buffs, particularly about anything having to do with Chicago; this fellow (Chuck), is also quite an airplane buff; so we get TONS of things about airplanes; and trains.........and all sorts of military stuff; I have no idea how he does it, but Chuck finds more interesting "stuff" on the internet than any other 10 people I know ! He recently sent me an email with a collection of vintage luxury cars from the 20's through the 40's; Just this week was a real,"prize", and I'm working right now on how best to either gets the pictures on Mil AV, or at least the link to it.

I'm sure most of you "younger fellows" have heard about General Jimmy Dolittle's famous B-25 raid on Tokyo in the early part of WW 2; (I remember it from hearing about it on the evening radio news); ( TV wasn't even "invented" then, I think it was either in 1942 or 1943; the survivors of the famous raid have held a reunion every year since WW 2 ended; they are now down to only 6 or 7 left; they just had the annual reunion at the USAF Museum in Dayton, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the famous Toyko raid; the last one. there are some nice pictures of them at the reunion; also, every restored B-25 in the country flew into Dayton, did a 25 ship flyby........something none of us will probably ever see again. The photographer taking the photos knew what he was doing; I had heard about it a few months ago, and was hoping to go and take pictures of the B-25's but I was unable to get away.

For some strange reason, everyone seems to think I'm "ancient" just because they know I turned 80 in December (and got married on my birthday); wait till you see these boys from WW 2 ! They're all about 96 !

So when you see a new thread about the Dolittle Raid on Tokyo, be sure to take a look, and thanks to all of you !

Charley C

Quoting rwessel (Reply 10):
Depending on what was installed, an SR-71 unfueled was somewhere between 56,000lbs and 67,000lbs. I'd assume the early test A-12s were likely towards the low end of the scale, and then you'd save a bunch of weight by removing the engines, the nose, draining the hydraulics, etc. You can see the engines and nose pod removed in the photos, also the outer wing panels and the vertical stabilizers.


Thank you, rwessel; That's starting to sound like my guess was pretty close; I knew they had removed the vertical stabs, and I think also those huge engines; so that thing may not have gone over 50 K; I've hauled a fair number of 50 & 52 K coils on a regular tandem axle flat bed with a 3 axle tractor; ( and NO permit )

Note; next time you see a big convoy on the interstate moving some you think must be "real heavy"..........just start counting all of the axles; you can come pretty close that way.
Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
 
rwessel
Posts: 2448
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 3:47 pm

RE: Rare Pictures Of A-12 Being Transported

Fri Apr 26, 2013 4:21 am

Quoting Geezer (Reply 14):
TV wasn't even "invented" then, I think it was either in 1942 or 1943;

Regular broadcasts of what would recognizably be "modern" TV began in NYC in 1938. The NTSC* standards were adopted in 1941, although this was mostly a refinement of what the existing TVs at the time could do, and many (most?) could be adapted. Various other schemes date back to 1908 or so, although those suffered from considerable limitations. WWII put a huge brake on TV deployment.


*Which, except for the addition of color, were basically what broadcast TV used until the recent conversion to digital (ATSC)
 
Nibog
Posts: 141
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2009 6:35 pm

RE: Rare Pictures Of A-12 Being Transported

Fri Apr 26, 2013 7:42 pm

Quoting Geezer (Reply 14):
So when you see a new thread about the Dolittle Raid on Tokyo, be sure to take a look, and thanks to all of you !

Geezer, i look forward to reading that and I enjoy all of your posts,so keep them coming sir!!!!!. The 25 ship flyby of the B-25 would be something else,both visually and the noise of that collective roar of the engines!!!.
 
Geezer
Topic Author
Posts: 1413
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:37 am

RE: Rare Pictures Of A-12 Being Transported

Fri Apr 26, 2013 8:47 pm

Quoting Nibog (Reply 16):
The 25 ship flyby of the B-25 would be something else,both visually and the noise of that collective roar of the engines!!!.

LOL! Well, I just now posted it, not 2 minutes before your reply popped up ! I found out while doing a bit more reading that I overstated the number of B-25s that gathered......apparently there were only 20; but it was still the biggest "get together" of B-25s since WW2. I'm kicking myself for not making more effort to have gone to Dayton to photograph them; (I'm only 175 miles away from there.)

I also found out that I had made a few mistakes in my post from trying to rely on my memory, which is usually fairly good. I discovered that the idea for launching the bombers off of an aircraft carrier was not Lt.Col. Doolittle's, but was actually the idea of a Navy ship Captain, (whose name I have now forgotten just since last night!) (Maybe I AM getting old.) Also that they had just 300 feet to get airborne ! In training for the raid, the absolute record was 287 feet. Of course, just like they do today, that's from a ship that is underway at full speed INTO the wind, so that helps a lot.

I think the most amazing thing of all about all of this is, that ANY of these old heros are still with us!



Quoting rwessel (Reply 15):
Regular broadcasts of what would recognizably be "modern" TV began in NYC in 1938. The NTSC* standards were adopted in 1941

Thank you again for the "facts" ! Everything you say is completely correct; however.......I can tell you this from memory; I graduated from high school in 1950; (I'm positive of that) During my three years of going to high school, ordinary people were just starting to get TV sets; not very many people had them then; and programming.......you wouldn't recognize it, from what you see on TV now. To even mention the word "pregnant" on TV was to invite a very big fine, and possibly have the whole program removed from the air. Also, almost all programs in 1950 were broadcast live, so every TV station was obliged to have a censor to instantly hit the "blip" button if anyone accidentally said "hell" or "damn". Things were MUCH different in 1950 from what they are now.
Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
 
RIXrat
Posts: 670
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2005 10:20 am

RE: Rare Pictures Of A-12 Being Transported

Sat Apr 27, 2013 4:29 am

Thanks, Charley, for another fine and informative report. My one and only encounter with an SR-71 was in the early 80s at an air show at Willow Grove NAS, outside PHL. The beast was sleek and beautiful, but to my horror, it was leaking fuel all over the place. I quickly pointed this out to the pilot who was stationed beside the plane. He kind of chuckled and proceeded to explain that once they are airborne and he puts the pedal to the metal, an enormous heat change happens and the plane's body expands, sealing all joints. He said it was designed that way. So, I said, how fast does does it have to go before it gets bonded? Above Mach 1, he replied, without divulging the aircraft's true performance limits.
 
User avatar
Revelation
Posts: 13760
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:37 pm

RE: Rare Pictures Of A-12 Being Transported

Sat Apr 27, 2013 3:58 pm

Quoting Geezer (Reply 14):
For some strange reason, everyone seems to think I'm "ancient" just because they know I turned 80 in December (and got married on my birthday); wait till you see these boys from WW 2 ! They're all about 96 !

So when you see a new thread about the Dolittle Raid on Tokyo, be sure to take a look, and thanks to all of you !

Thanks for the posts! I know we butt heads (but aren't buttheads!) on non-av, but I appreciate your posts in both places.

Quoting rwessel (Reply 15):
*Which, except for the addition of color, were basically what broadcast TV used until the recent conversion to digital (ATSC)

As someone who left behind electrical engineering in the early 80s, I'm still amazed at how they were able to shoe-horn color into the original NTSC spec. Another thing that stood the test of time is the T1 spec (used to carry phone calls and now data in digital form) - it dates back to the early 60s! Chances are pretty good that your internet traffic is being represented in T1 format (or a decedent thereof) somewhere along its journey right now!
Inspiration, move me brightly!
 
CPH-R
Posts: 6058
Joined: Thu May 03, 2001 5:19 pm

RE: Rare Pictures Of A-12 Being Transported

Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:56 am

The Nat Geo channel recently aired a documentary on the Oxcart project, which included interviews with some of those who were involved with it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6Y7r3nisJg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRjIChqaeWA

Sadly the rest of it isn't available.
 
KRIC777
Posts: 262
Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2002 6:25 am

RE: Rare Pictures Of A-12 Being Transported

Sun May 05, 2013 7:10 pm

Geez, I read that headline originally as "Rare pictures of An-12 Being Transported." I was expecting grainy black and white pictures from the Stalinist USSR of the first An-12 transports being towed around an airfield in Siberia!

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests