SECRET AMERICAN FIGHTER AND INTERCEPTOR PROJECTS
Went to this a few days ago:
A very enjoyable talk with slides and a cup of tea thrown in for two quid. It covered the post-war years up until 1980, when Stealth Tech started appearing and, as Mr. Buttler explained, it gets a bit tricky for anyone without a US passport - even for a published aviation historian like himself - to even make enquiries about what is now almost vintage tech. There were some fantastic slides of models and mock-ups of retro-futuristic-looking prototype fighters (some of which looked like they'd escaped from a Gerry Anderson production) that were put up as bid proposals for various military combat aircraft roles. What was interesting was comparing the initial designs with what was eventually, in some cases, put into production - espesh. after manufacturing issues shaved some of the futurismo from the designs and led to something far more practical and banal (but airworthy) being created. I didn't realise there was a world-wide collector's market for some of the models created in the 40s, 50s and 60s by Northrop, Lockheed, North American, etc - with original handmade protoype models changing hands for thousands.
The General Dynamics/McDonnell Douglas A-12A Avenger II (aka "The Flying Dorrito"), a program that was cancelled in 1991, though over $3 billion had already been spent on it:
The Mystery Aircraft Page.