Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird – 9th RW Det.2, USAF, Edwards AFB 1997
1 in stock
1 in stock
Century Wings 1/72 scale 001634: Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird #61-7971 9th RW Det.2, USAF, Edwards AFB, CA, 1997. Limited Edition of 800 Pieces.
Length 17.75 inches Wingspan 9.25 inches
Aircraft #61-7971 rolled off the assembly line on August 16th, 1965 and first flew on November 17th, 1966. As with all SR-71s, #971 was assigned to the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing based at Beale AFB, CA. In 1990, the SR-71 program was officially cancelled and the majority of airframes were prepared for a life as static display pieces in museums around the United States. #971 was one of three Blackbirds to be spared however, and was delivered to NASA for high-speed/high-altitude flight testing. The USAF markings we replaced with NASA markings and the aircraft was assigned NASA serial #832.
Fate intervened once more in 1995 when the USAF was tasked with resuming SR-71 operations with the three flightworthy airframes that had been loaned to NASA. #61-7971 was the first SR-71 to be reactivated and the NASA markings were once again replaced with muted USAF markings. The SR-71s were operated by Detachment 2 of the 9th RW out of Edwards AFB but the they were still assigned the red “BB” (Beale Bandits) tailcode with four iron crosses of their home base at Beale. Sadly, the reactivation was short lived and the three remaining SR-71s were permanently retired.
#971 flew for the final time on September 30th 1997 and ended her career with a total of 3512.5 flight hours. This aircraft is currently on display at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Oregon, still wearing the Beale Bandits tail markings.
Designed as a long-range, strategic reconnaissance aircraft, The Lockheed SR-71 first flew on December 22, 1964. Nicknamed “The Blackbird,” this highly-advanced aircraft was believed by many to be ahead of its time. It was capable of mach 3 and still holds the record for the fastest “air breathing manned aircraft” in the world. Its speed and ability to operate at high altitudes served as a defensive feature; when attacked by surface-to-air missiles, the pilot needed only to accelerate to avoid being struck. Only 32 SR-71’s were operated during its 34-year service history, and though 12 were destroyed in accidents none were lost to enemy attack.