photo via Tony Landis
930 painted gloss blue, 2017 - photo via Tony Landis

Sad but true, someone has painted a blackbird gloss blue.

There are a lot of blackbird myths and rumors out there.  One of them is that the blackbirds weren't black, but were deep indigo blue.  This is a falsehood.  Ask anyone who actually WORKED on painting the aircraft, and they will tell you that the airframes are flat black.  This is why they are called blackbirds and not deepindigobluebirds.

What is true is that, under intense lighting conditions, such as high noon on a cloudless day, a smooth black object can appear blue.  This is because nothing on earth absorbs 100% of the light that hits it, and a small amount is reflected.  Because blue is at the top of the EM spectrum of visible light, it has the most energy and is the one color in white light that doesn't get absorbed.

So, under certain conditions, a blackbird can look blue, but it's still black.

Lockheed photo via Tony Landis
The SR-71B at Beale AFB, looking blue in the bright sunlight - Lockheed photo via Tony Landis

Lockheed photo via Tony Landis
The same airframe at the same location, only on an overcast day, looking almost as black as midnight in a mine shaft - Lockheed photo via Tony Landis


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