Blackbird Spy Plane
Michigan Travel News ( Press Release )
The SR-71B Blackbird Spy Plane comes to the Kalamazoo Air
Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA. After almost 40 years of flying at speeds in excess of Mach 3 and at
altitudes above 85,000 feet, the SR-71B Blackbird is coming to rest at the Kalamazoo Air Zoo.
On Tuesday, the Air Zoo signed an agreement to exhibit the SR-71B on permanent loan from the
U.S. Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio.
Developed for the USAF as reconnaissance aircraft, the SR-71 remains the world''s fastest and
highest-flying production aircraft. The SR-71 flew more than 2,300 miles per hour (Mach 3, three
times the speed of sound or nearly 35 miles per minute), and at altitudes of over 85,000 feet.
There were a total of 32 SR-71s produced by Lockheed Martin''s Skunk Works division, and the
SR-71B that will be on display is the only remaining SR-71B in the world. The "B" model is the
trainer version of the SR-71, and is distinguished by its raised rear cockpit. Assembly of this
aircraft started on June 18, 1964 and completed on May 20, 1965. The first flight of the aircraft
was on November 18, 1965.
The U.S. Air Force retired the Blackbird fleet in 1990, after 25 years of service. Three SR-71s,
including the SR-71B, were delivered to NASA for use as supersonic testbeds at Dryden Flight
Research Center in California. Research is now complete, and the aircraft will be delivered to the
Air Zoo this spring.
A contractor will disassemble the titanium-plated aircraft, which is housed at Edwards Air Force
Base in California, where it will be loaded onto eight tractor-trailer trucks and brought to the Air
Zoo in March. It will then be reassembled, and on public display in late April or early May.
The Kalamazoo Air Zoo is located at 3101 E. Milham Rd., Kalamazoo, MI 49002. For more
information log on to www.airzoo.org or call 269-382-6555.
The Kalamazoo Air Zoo is a proud member of the West Michigan Tourist Association (WMTA).
For regional travel information, contact WMTA toll free at 800-442-2084 or log on to
www.wmta.org. Founded in 1917, WMTA is the oldest continually-operating tourist association
in the nation. Representing 41 counties from the Michigan-Indiana state line north to Mackinac
Island and covering the entire west half of the Lower Peninsula, WMTA is dedicated to proving
that "Nobody Knows West Michigan Like We Do!"