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Photographer Jeffrey Milstein’s photographs of airplanes are currently being shown at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Mr. Milstein has been fascinated with the modern jet since childhood, earning his pilot’s license while he was a teenager. He loved hanging around the end of the runway at Los Angeles International Airport, feeling that he chould almost touch the planes as they went by. He still loves spending time on the runway, and often shoots the aircraft as they are flying directly overhead at close to 200 mph. Mr. Milstein: “I shoot mostly at LAX, as the planes are coming in for landing. I hand hold a Contax 645 camera body with a Phase One digital back… After capturing the image I mask and neutralize the sky so as to show only the aircraft in perfect symmetry. This isolates it like a portrait.” “AirCraft: The Jet as Art,” is on view through Nov. 25.


Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor


Air Canada Boeing 767


Beech-18


EVA Boeing 747


Southwest Airlines Boeing 737

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The Lun

The Lun ekranoplan weighs 380 tons, has a 148-foot wingspan and can launch six anti-ship missiles from flight. Or rather, it could, before it was retired to a forlorn pier in southern Russia.

The dilapidated plane is the offspring of an even larger prototype ship which freaked out the CIA so much back in the 1960s that they developed an unmanned drone to spy on it, an alleged program detailed in the new book AREA 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base.

Deployed much later in 1987, this more contemporary behemoth, called the Lun, was an improvement over the previous model. It remained in service until the 1990s, when it was mothballed by the Russian military. The once-fearsome Lun will likely never fly again and is now little more than a chunk of aerodynamic scrap metal.

Alternately described as an amphibious aircraft or a flying boat, the plane is a feat of engineering that has been reduced to a footnote in aviation history. Read on for a look inside this aging relic and the ambitious program that spawned it.

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All photos: Igor Kolokov

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