Aviation: What's in a Name?

First it was known as the B-70—the Air Force's manned bomber of the future. But in the age of the missile, both the Eisenhower and the Kennedy Administrations turned it down.

Then it became the RS-70—RS meaning reconnaissance strike. It would, its adherents claimed, not only be a bomber but a wizard observation aircraft. But Defense Secretary Robert McNamara was dead set against it.

Next it became the XB-70A—with the X standing for experimental. Under congressional pressure, McNamara finally agreed to spend $1.4 billion to build two prototypes.

And then it was dubbed Cecil the Seasick Sea Serpent, not only because of...

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