OXCART Down! - Searching for the remains of a secret spy plane
By Peter W. Merlin, October 2003

Desert Quest

Peter Merlin holds pieces of A-12 (60-6926/Article123) at the crash site. The long, arduous search had finally paid off.

Peter Merlin is a co-founder of the X-Hunters Aerospace Archeology Team
The desert holds many secrets. On a cool October day in 2003, I held one of them in my hand. A shard of titanium gleamed in the late afternoon sunlight as I examined it. The fragment was about six inches long and less than two inches wide. An attached clamp held a segment of metal tubing, probably part of a hydraulic line. There were no markings. It might not have looked very impressive, but, to me, it was like the Holy Grail. It was part of a once-secret airplane and it represented the end of a search I had begun ten years earlier, though the real story began several decades before, at the height of the Cold War.

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