IMPORTANT TRAFFIC ANNOUNCEMENT:  The City of Riverside has announced that beginning Sept. 12, Harshman Road from Springfield Street to Airway Road will be reduced to one lane in each direction in order to repair the barrier wall. Motorists can expect traffic delays and are encouraged to seek alternate routes when arriving and departing from the museum.  Additionally, the Air Force Marathon is Saturday, September 17, 2022 with the race start/finish line on museum grounds. The museum will still be open regular hours of 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Parking for museum visitors on September 17 will open at 8:30 a.m. Increased traffic and attendance is expected throughout the day.

Lockheed SR-71A

The SR-71, unofficially known as the "Blackbird," is a long-range, advanced, strategic reconnaissance aircraft developed from the Lockheed A-12 and YF-12A aircraft. The first flight of an SR-71 took place on Dec. 22, 1964, and the first SR-71 to enter service was delivered to the 4200th (later 9th) Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Beale Air Force Base, Calif., in January 1966. The U.S. Air Force retired its fleet of SR-71s on Jan. 26, 1990, because of a decreasing defense budget and high costs of operation. 

Throughout its nearly 24-year career, the SR-71 remained the world's fastest and highest-flying operational aircraft. From 80,000 feet, it could survey 100,000 square miles of Earth's surface per hour. On July 28, 1976, an SR-71 set two world records for its class -- an absolute speed record of 2,193.167 mph and an absolute altitude record of 85,068.997 feet.

On March 21, 1968, in the aircraft on display, Maj. (later Gen.) Jerome F. O'Malley and Maj. Edward D. Payne made the first operational SR-71 sortie. During its career, this aircraft accumulated 2,981 flying hours and flew 942 total sorties (more than any other SR-71), including 257 operational missions, from Beale Air Force Base, Calif., Palmdale, Calif., Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, and RAF (Base), Mildenhall, England. The aircraft was flown to the museum in March 1990.

Armament: None
Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney J58s of 32,500 lbs. thrust each with afterburner
Crew: Two 
Maximum speed: Mach 3+ (three times the speed of sound) or over 2,000 mph
Range: More than 2,900 statute miles
Ceiling: Over 85,000 ft.
Span: 55 ft. 7 in.
Length: 107 ft. 5 in.
Height: 18 ft. 6 in.
Weight: 140,000 lbs. loaded
Serial number: 61-7976

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Find Out More
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View SR-71 products in the Museum Store