Blackbird down the street: flashback photo show how Beale AFB static SR-71 was moved to its current location


By Dario Leone
Nov 20 2017
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This Blackbird is currently located at the intersection of Warren Shingle Rd & A St, Beale AFB, Marysville, CA

Taken in April 2007, the interesting photo in this post features SR-71 s/n 61-7963 being moved by road from its old location on the flightline at Beale Air Force Base (AFB) to the corner of Warren Shingle Road and A Street where this Blackbird is currently on display.

Given that at the time access to Beale was still tightly controlled since 9/11, the move allowed more people to see the aircraft.

SR-71 print
This print is available in multiple sizes from – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. SR-71A Blackbird 61-7972 “Skunkworks”

Assembly of SR-71A s/n 61-7963 started on Mar. 16, 1965; first flew on Jun. 9, 1966; last flight was on Oct. 28, 1976. This aircraft was cannibalized for parts to serve the rest of the SR-71 fleet after accumulating 1604.4 flight hours.

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.

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

Artwork courtesy of

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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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