3 minute readBlog: LM mag’s new website out

So Lockheed Martin’s magazine, Code One, has unveiled a new avatar on the internet. The magazine, which has been around since 1986, set up its website in ’96. “The site has been revised several times since then, but none to the extent of this most recent update,” says the release.

There’s no elaborate navigation on top and that makes it pretty easy for a user to find something. It’s all there in the body of the homepage, with a slideshow of stories as the lead. Could be more descriptive though. That way, Lockheed Martin’s website is pretty straightforward as well, although it does leave you with a sense that either the page hasn’t loaded entirely or maybe construction isn’t complete.

Code One‘s website has the latest company news, image and video releases under the magazine article slideshow, where right now they’ve got a difficult-to-focus on collage of the covers of their old print issues as their first slide. But admittedly, some of the cover images make you pause.

But if you’ve got an aviation history itch that needs scratching, Code One‘s website is especially cool, as they’ve got their hands on Lockheed Martin’s film archives, and uploaded footage of first flights of some aircraft the company (including its predecessor companies) has produced in the past. So far they’ve got the XB-24, the seed of the Second World War Liberator bomber, XF-104, YC-130 (of course) and the so-sharp-it-could-cut-you A-12 (not to be confused with the at least-as-sharp-looking McDonnell Douglas-General Dynamics carrier-borne stealth bomber, Avenger, canceled in 1991), the patriarch of aircraft like the YF-12 and the (Woohoo!) SR-71 Blackbird.

Code One has uploaded these videos on Youtube and embedded them on their site. Wish there was sound though. And some context. For instance, with the XF-104, which later became the Starfighter, it would’ve been interesting to know that the two prototypes built were destroyed during testing (which should mean the aircraft in the video above) or that the ejection seat was intended to go downward, not eject upwards. In fact if the seat’s firing mechanism didn’t work, it seems you could just slip out the floor and let gravity take over. Right. And also, the front edges of the wings of the Starfighter were so sharp, they needed safety covers for the protection of ground crew. The aircraft was also nicknamed Widowmaker, because of the number of fatal crashes, but became the first aircraft to hold both the speed and altitude records at the same time.

The A-12? That was put together as a way to get around the failure of reducing the Radar Cross Section (RCS) of the U2 spyplane. The designs were named Archangel (the U2 project was called Angel) and the A-12 was their twelfth attempt. The CIA flew the A-12 for a bit and then later, the US Air Force got the SR-71. There seems to be a story there too. It was originally called R-12 and then RS-71. The designation was changed to SR-71 at the last minute, before being announced to the press. RS stood for Reconnaissance/Strike while SR indicated Strategic Reconnaissance. The 71? Because the aircraft being considered by the USAF before the SR-71 for this role was the RS-70, derived from the North American Aviation XB-70 Valkyrie prototype.

“Additional types of aircraft-related content will be added as the site matures,” says the release. We hope so.

Also seems like they rummaged through some old albums stashed in the basement and dusted off some very nice photos of aircraft that have flown by, in a section called Spotlight. They’ve also put up a photo there of an F-16 with an F-35 inlet, besides a collection of inevitably slick posters.

Code One needs to put all of this history separately though, and catalog it with some context alongside. I’d keep coming back to check for more.

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So what do you think?