It looks like an upside-down bathtub with wings, pretty odd for a spy jet that was among the nation's most highly classified pieces of military hardware.As I stand in front of the plane code-named Tacit Blue at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, near Dayton, Ohio, I'm reminded that it still holds a bit of mystery.Engineers made fun of Tacit Blue's design by nicknaming it the Whale, but the program -- declassified in 1996 -- was deadly serious. It was all about stealth. Pentagon Cold War strategists desperately wanted to build planes that could evade Soviet radar.And so the Air Force launched
Cynda Thomas, widow of the first Tacit Blue test pilot Richard G. "Dick" Thomas, said she was with her husband in Los Angeles when an airline pilot accosted her husband during a test pilots' banquet at the Beverly Hilton.
"One and a half" Tacit Blue planes were built, Dyson said, so that "if we lost one, we could have a second one up and flying in short order." What happened to the other half of Tacit Blue? "I think it was done away with -- with total respect to secrecy."Mechanical remnants from a related black program called Have Blue "are buried at Groom Lake," according to a 2011 Air Force