SR-71 Online Headlines Archive

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As news items begin to overwhelm the main page, I will move them here to the headlines archive. Some of these include old Blackbird event announcements.

17 August 2006: View From On High: Strategic Reconnaissance in the Cold War Update

The Air Zoo in Kalamazoo, MI has announced some changes to their upcoming SR-71 Symposium on October 6th and 7th, 2006. It is looking to be a great event and I look forward to seeing as many of you Blackbird fans there as possible.

16 July 2006: SR-71 Simulator Moves To The Frontiers of Flight Museum

Chris Woodul, curator of the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, TX wrote to tell us that the SR-71 Simulator and its supporting hardware and software have moved from NASA Dryden Flight Research Center. The museum is receiving active support from Link (manufacturer of the simulator) and Col. Rich Graham. They also intend to make the simulator fully functional and an interactive display.

1 May 2006: Hosting Upgrades

Moved hosting to pair Networks for hopefully much better performance and reliability.

17 April 2006: Blackbird Event Announcement

View From On High: Strategic Reconnaissance in the Cold War
Friday October 6 and Saturday, October 7, 2006

Location: The Air Zoo - Portage, MI

Join the Air Zoo as we present the first installment in our symposium series. "View From On High" will take a look at Strategic Reconnaissance during the Cold War. Guest speakers include:

  • General Patrick Halloran - SR-71 Pilot
  • Colonel Richard Graham - SR-71 Pilot
  • Mr. Robert Gilliland - Lockheed Test Pilot - SR-71
  • Mr. Donald Miller - SR-71 Crew Chief
  • Mr. John Amundson - U-2 Pilot

Dr. Dwayne Day - Author "Eye in the Sky: Story of the Corona Spy Satellites"

Friday, October 6th:
7:30 - 9:30 pm: Cocktail party/mixer

Saturday, October 7th:
9:00 - 5:00 pm: Symposium sessions include all listed speakers, and a book signing by Dr. Dwayne Day.

Both days: $65.00*
Saturday only: $50.00*
*includes admission to the Air Zoo

For more information, please contact the Air Zoo at 269.382.6555.

Please note: speakers and schedule subject to change.

15 March 2006: XHTML 1.0 Strict Compliant

After months of hard work, this site is now fully compliant with the standards set forth by the W3C. The site is now ready to move to XHTML 1.1, and once MSIE gets its act together about XML, this site will start to be served up as application/xhtml+xml to all users.

20 February 2006: Blackbird Laurels Update

Doug Nelson of the AFFTC Museum writes: "Due to unforeseen circumstances, the third biennial Blackbird Laurels banquet and induction ceremony, originally planned for later this year, has been cancelled. The staff and volunteers of the Air Force Flight Test Center Museum and the Blackbird Laurels committee will continue to work toward producing the next banquet in 2008."

For further information please contact:

Doug Nelson
AFFTC Museum Director
(661) 277-8080

5 February 2006: New National Museum of the United States Air Force Guide Available

Over 250 new photos of the National Museum of the United States Air Force are now available.

29 January 2006: Museums Sneak Preview

I am in the process of upgrading my museums section with improved and updated photos that have been taken within the last three years. A preview of this work is now available.

1 December 2005: Infrastructure Upgrades

Some of you may have noticed something a little different about many of the pages here at over the past couple of months. First, you may have noticed a line of text stating valid XHTML, CSS, and RSS, followed by a "page rendered in n-seconds" line at the bottom of each page. This tells you two things: First, it says that the web site is going to have valid markup, as proposed by the W3C. It also says that this web site is fully dynamic, meaning each page is rendered by a custom, server-side script. Starting at the beginning of October 2005, this project was launched to upgrade the infrastructure of the web site. This is a very daunting project, and yet there are few outward changes, or new content for that matter. Sounds like a lot of work for nothing, why am I doing it?

There are several reasons why it is absolutely necessary that I do this. First, the web site is becoming too large to manage static pages. If I want to change formatting or design, it is a nightmare. The site's design has not been changed since April 2002, and took a month to apply the design to every page then. That was nearly three years ago, imagine today what time it would take to do that. With a fully dynamic site (based on a PHP backend) and help from cascading style sheets, I can change the site's design in seconds. Secondly, the markup of this site has been jacked up for years. In the old days, I used Microsoft FrontPage 2000 to maintain this site. Now, I have a hard time knocking this software, even though other developers cringe at mention of it. It has actually worked out well for me, and produces pretty clean HTML code despite its invalid heritage and bad rap. Today, more than 2/3 of the site has been converted over to the new infrastructure and this would not be possible without a lot of the markup being correct to begin with.

I am working hard to deliver a fully XHTML 1.0 Strict (currently Transitional) web site. The site is now entirely coded by hand, and it is still very tedious upgrading the markup for each page. When this project is completed next spring, maintaining this web site will be a snap, and doing things like adding new image galleries will take minutes instead of hours, as this too is all rendered by the new backend. In addition to the new markup, there is also an RSS feed that you may subscribe to for instant access to all changes on this site. I will not be updating this feed until I start adding new content again, so be sure to check back in the spring when the new content starts rolling out again.

Also, I have a favor to ask. If anyone finds a page that has invalid markup, but also claims to be valid, let me know. Also, I am aware that the message board is broken. I will fix it as soon as I can, but I am focused on getting more of the new infrastructure up as soon as possible.

14 July 2005: Major Update

This is the first major update in nearly a year and a half. I have since visited eleven Blackbirds and five new ones. The new image galleries include:

Major updates to the following galleries:

Minor updates:

Currently, 25 of 30 surviving Blackbirds have pages here at SR-71 Online.

1 February 2004: Major Update

This release represents about seven months of work. The change log is way too long and I probably will forget something, but here are some of the new features:

Overhauled image galleries (Including new photos):

SR-71B #61-7956, YF-12A #60-6935, SR-71A #61-7968, SR-71A #61-7972, SR-71A #61-7976, D-21 Drone, Starter Carts, and J-58s.

New image galleries:

SR-71A #61-7961, SR-71A #61-7964

New Blackbird Wallpaper

It is my goal to increase the size of all photos on this site to 900 x 600 and to optimize the JPEGs. This will be apparent in the new and overhauled galleries. In the future, I would like to redo the rest.

During July 2003, I went to the opening of the Kettering Gallery at the USAF Museum and Airventure 2003. In December, I went to the grand opening of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA. Getting some of these photos on the site will be my next target. Look for more in the Museums section in the future.

26 April 2003:

SR-71B #956 went on display on 23 April 2003. Please check out the 55 photos from this event at Also, more updates on SR-71A #971's move to McMinnville at the #971 page.

29 March 2003:

The SR-71B #61-7956 arrived at the Kalamazoo Aviation History Museum yesterday. Please check out the 65 photos from this event at

27 December 2002:

The Kalamazoo Air Zoo is releasing this press release today in regards to the resent confirmation that the SR-71B #61-7956 will be on permanent loan from the USAF Museum. Click here to read the press release.

16 September 2002:

On Saturday, 14 September 2002, SR-71A #980 was put on display at the entrance of Dryden Flight Research Center. The concrete hardstand has not yet been built.

It is also apparent that SR-71B #956 will be going to the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo, MI and SR-71A #971 will be going to the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, OR.

With these announcements, all SR-71s have been allocated to museums.

21 August 2002:

SR-71A #61-7980 (NASA 844) is going on display in front of NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center. They have already started building the concrete slabs for the landing gear. It is not yet known when the aircraft will be displayed.

20 August 2002:

Former Lockheed Test Pilot Louis Wellington "Lou" Schalk died Friday, August 16, 2002. He was 76.

Schalk joined Lockheed Aircraft Corporation as an engineering test pilot in 1957, following U.S. Air Force service as a fighter pilot and test pilot. In 1959 he was selected as Kelly Johnson's chief test pilot for the then Skunk Works. He went on to make aviation history on April 16, 1962, when he became the first person to fly the A-12 Blackbird and later the YF-12. During his aviation career, he flew more than 70 different aircraft types, including such aircraft as the F-100, F-101 and Lockheed F-104.

Accolades received over the years include the Society of Experimental Test Pilots' (SETP) "Iven C. Kincheloe Award" (it's top honor) in 1964, and he became an SETP Associate Fellow in 1967. In 1999 he joined Neil Armstrong, Chuck Yeager, Pete Knight, Jimmy Doolittle and many other aviation greats when he was honored at the City of Lancaster's Aerospace Walk of Honor. In April 2002, he was inducted into the Blackbird Laurels Fraternity.

A native of Alden, Iowa, Schalk was born on May 29, 1926. He is survived by his wife, Louise, who resides in Fairfax, Va.

Write-up courtesy of Matthew I. Johnston, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company