Sep 28, 2022

Operation Blackbird free event just over two weeks away

Posted Sep 28, 2022 4:24 PM

HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Operation: Blackbird, a celebration focusing on the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird is just over two weeks away. The planes flew three times the speed of sound at the edge of space. Flown from 1964-1990, they were used for reconnaissance and for engineering and flight tests. In 1995, Hutchinson residents watched as an entire addition to the Cosmosphere was constructed around a flown SR-71.

Pilots, crew, and mechanics who worked in the SR-71 program occupy a unique position in U.S. military and engineering history, as the SR-71 remains the world’s fastest manned air-breathing jet. October 14-15, the public is invited to meet SR-71 crew members and hear their stories about the Blackbird.

Festivities begin with a meet and greet in Cosmosphere’s Grand Lobby under the SR-71 on Friday, October 14 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

On Saturday, October 15, Cosmosphere offers a full day of activities that include intimate panel presentations with SR-71 experts and a book signing with SR-71 Instructor Pilot, Squadron Commander, Wing Commander and Author, Col. Richard Graham.

Graham’s hardcover, The Complete Book of the SR-71 Blackbird, contains over 400 photos and is available now, along with unique SR-71 gifts, patches, and memorabilia in the Cosmosphere gift shop.

The Cosmosphere will be closing early at 3 p.m. on Oct. 15 to prepare for a private event. The hours of operation that day will be 9:00 a.m.  to 3:00 p.m.

Fourteen SR-71 crew members are on the schedule to attend.

Below is the schedule for Saturday, October 15.

Saturday, October 15

10:00-11:30 a.m.

SR-71 Panel Discussion

Location: Fee Family Classroom

Jerry Glasser, SR-71 Pilot and Panel Moderator

John Manzi, SR-71 RSO

Robby Butterfield, SR-71 Maintenance

Dave Burns, SR-71 Maintenance

10:00-11:30 a.m.

Rub shoulders with some of the greats of the SR-71 world underneath the Cosmosphere’s SR-71.

SR-71 Meet & Greet

Location: Grand Lobby under the SR-71

10:00-11:30 a.m.

Book Signing

Location: Off the Cosmosphere’s Grand Lobby, by the SR-71 exhibit

With Richard Graham, SR-71 Instructor Pilot, Squadron Commander, Wing Commander & Author

The Complete Book of the SR-71 Blackbird is available for purchase here.

1:00-3:00 p.m.

SR-71 Breakout Groups

1. Operations

Moderated by Ed Yeilding

Location: Lower Level of Museum Rotunda

2. Maintenance/Engine

Moderated by Robby Butterfield

Location: Upper Level of Museum Rotunda

3. Training

Moderator TBD

Location: Observation Deck

4. Technology Development

Moderated by Steve Justice

Location: Upper Level of Museum Rotunda