I’m a sucker for a good SR-71 story. In this one for War is Boring, Robert Beckhusen writes about the attempts by industry watchers to figure out what Lockheed was building before the SR-71 was declassified. In some cases, it feels remarkably similar to today’s Apple rumour mill:
By March, [retired admiral John B. Pearson] and his coworkers studied shipments of liquid hydrogen and oxygen fuel, movements of test pilots and even subcontractors working on specialized precision valves to deduce not only the existence of a new spy plane, but guess its specifications. They weren’t dead-on accurate, but they were close.
If you haven’t read it before, Brian Shul’s account of flying the SR-71 is worth your time.