Flight of Fancy
Date Added: July 17, 2004
With dozens of sites, message boards and blogs devoted to revealing the latest dish on the next blockbuster film, the web is rife with behind-the-scenes photos and rumors. As we learned with the venerable Space Shuttle Disaster Photos hoax, though, the line between film and fact is often quite blurry online. These 'sneak peek' photos of a top-secret new plane are all Hollywood hocus pocus.
Subject: New Plane
Forwarded without comment, except that a woman, Lt. Kara Wade, is apparently the test pilot for the project.
We received the following pictures but have no information about their authenticity.
The plane in these pictures is air vehicle number 1, a prototype on board the USS Washington for catapult fit checks. Not yet made public, the F/A-37 is a Mach 3.5, super cruise stealth fighter/bomber/interceptor with a 4000nm range. Top speed is classified, some where in the Mach 4 plus range. Awesome! Also, there is no phase interval for this plane. It has a 10,000 hour life airframe and engines that require replacement only at failure or signs of trouble. The squadrons are to be out of Whidbey Island, 12 planes to a command.
A later version adds more (fictitious) detail:
Here are some shots of Northrop's Air Vehicle #1 for the Navy's new F/A-37. This prototype was flown on board the USS Harry S. Truman for catapult fit checks.The F/A-37A supposedly is a Mach 3.5, super cruise stealth fighter/bomber/interceptor with a 1000nm combat radius. Top speed is classified, but probably somewhere in the Mach 4 plus range. Also, it is said that there is no phase interval for this aircraft. It has a 10,000 hour life airframe and engines that require replacement only at failure or signs of trouble. F/A-37A Air Groups are to be based out of Whidbey Island and Norfolk with 12 planes to a squadron; four squadrons to a Group.
One last little tidbit, did you notice the pilot is a woman!"
The photos above do not reveal an experimental, top-secret aircraft. Rather, they are shots from the set of the upcoming Columbia Pictures/Backbreaker Films motion picture, Stealth, starring Josh Lucas and Jessica Biel. That's Biel, playing Lt. Kara Wade, in the cockpit in the third image. Notice the film crews and cameras in the first and fourth images. The carrier shown in the pictures is the the USS Abraham Lincoln, not the Washington or Truman, as alleged in various versions of this chain.
Stealth tells the story of an experimental fighter plane with artificial intelligence (the F/A-37 Talon) that develops a mind of its own. It's up to a band of navy pilots (Biel, Josh Lucas and Jamie Foxx) to prevent the Earth's destruction. The film, directed by Rob Cohen, was released in theaters in July, 2005 release and on home video later that year.
Often, in cases where photos from a movie set are leaked to the public, the pics were either taken by a member of the film's crew and shared with movie buffs via e-mail or blog, or the filmmaker intentionally released the photos and the bit of back story to build buzz for their picture (anybody remember a little phenomenon called The Blair Witch Project?). However, in this case, the Navy is the source. The photos were taken by U.S. Navy Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Tyler J. Clements on board the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln and released by the Navy's PR department. The Navy is not, however, the source of the misleading back stories most often accompanying the photos. Break this chain.
References: Navy Release, Phoenix Pictures, GlobalSecurity.org, Internet Movie Database, Yahoo! Movies