Palmdale, California: Blackbird Park - Spy Plane HometownThe park displays an SR-71 high altitude intelligence gathering jet, U2, F-117, and a YF-12, used by the CIA.
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I would like to correct some misinformation in Mark Hrutkay's post from 2008. The second "Blackbird" at Blackbird Park is an A-12, not a YF-12. Lockheed first developed the single seat A-12 for the CIA, and later modified that design into the two seat SR-71 for the USAF. Along the way three experimental YF-12 interceptors were built and tested. The first one was rebuilt as an SR-71C, the third crashed and was lost, while the second is the sole surviving example of the type and resides at the USAF Museum in Dayton, Ohio. The A-12 on display is the very first Blackbird built by Lockheed. I hope this clears up any confusion about what is on display at Blackbird Park.[Terry Wall, 04/16/2014]
ALL SR-71s were retired in 1995. They had initially been retired in 1990 (If memory is correct) and 2 were brought back into service for NASA in 1993 or so. They were used for 2 years and then retired. Currently ALL SR-71 type aircraft are accounted for in museums.
There is a comment that two Blackbirds are in the park. YES AND NO. There are 2 airplanes that look like SR-71s in the park; a REAL SR-71 and a YF-12. They are easily confused. The YF-12 basically looks like an SR-71. The YF-12 was developed for the USAF as a long range interceptor (the Phoenix Missile used on the F-14 TomCat was originally developed for the YF-12). There was a combination of events that occurred, the USAF realized it would not be a good interceptor and the CIA realized it would be an awesome spy plane; the USAF dropped it and the CIA picked it up.
This is one of two places in the world where you can see both airplanes on the same field. The other place is in Dayton, OH at the USAF Museum.[Mark Hrutkay, 01/24/2008]
The "other" plane on display here is an A-12, an older and even more rare member of the Blackbird family. Also on display is the uber-rare D-21 blackbird drone, a bare SR-71 engine, and the Buick starting cart for the SR-71, as well as several other military aircraft.
The SR-71 is not "technically" retired, as NASA still has a flyable example, kept at Edwards Air Force Base.[George, 12/22/2007]
This tiny park features the SR-71, the fastest plane on earth, affectionately known as the Blackbird, and was created by aerospace researchers in this community. The spy plane is now retired by the Government, but its fans continue to be amazed. Once a year, the park allows you to sit at the yoke of this famed plane.
Other aerospace attractions also are there for the exploring -- the A-12, F-105, F-86, all developed locally. Blackbird Park is just across the street from the Palmdale FAA building, where air traffic controllers guide all flights in the Southwest. P.S. no grass can be found at this "park."[Diane Grooms, 05/26/2002]
There are now two Blackbird spy planes, clearly visible in aerial photos by our spy satellites.