Kelly’s Heroes: Lockheed’s five finest airplanes

Kelly’s Heroes: Lockheed’s five finest airplanes

Update: It’s Memorial Day weekend here in the US, and the Ars staff has a long weekend accordingly. As we all reflect on the sacrifice of the people bravely serving in the Armed Forces, we thought resurfacing this piece—an homage to some of the finest aviation ever deployed by the US—would be a welcomed accompaniment. This story originally ran on March 4, 2016, and it appears unchanged below.

Roughly 110 years ago, one of the world’s greatest aircraft designers—Clarence “Kelly” Johnson—was born in Ishpeming, Michigan. And since we’re gigantic aviation nerds here at Ars Technica, the week of his birthday (February 27) is as good a reason as any to celebrate some of his legendary designs. Johnson spent 44 years working at Lockheed, where he was responsible for world-changing aircraft including the high-flying U-2, the “missile with a man in it” F-104 Starfighter, and the almost-otherworldly Blackbird family of

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The radio-navigation planes use to land safely is insecure and can be hacked

The radio-navigation planes use to land safely is insecure and can be hacked

Enlarge / A plane in the researchers’ demonstration attack as spoofed ILS signals induce a pilot to land to the right of the runway. (credit: Sathaye et al.)

Just about every aircraft that has flown over the past 50 years—whether a single-engine Cessna or a 600-seat jumbo jet—relies on radios to safely land at airports. These instrument landing systems are considered precision approach systems, because unlike GPS and other navigation systems, they provide crucial real-time guidance about both the plane’s horizontal alignment with a runway and its vertical rate of descent. In many settings—particularly during foggy or rainy nighttime landings—this radio-based navigation is the primary means for ensuring planes touch down at the start of a runway and on its centerline.

Like many technologies built in earlier decades, the ILS was never designed to be secure from hacking. Radio signals, for instance, aren’t encrypted or authenticated. Instead, pilots simply assume

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