Meet the Legends! SR-71 Weekend 2018 March Field Air Museum in Riverside
April 1-2, 2017 – March Field Air Museum
Riverside, CA – The March Field Air Museum will once again host its popular “SR-71 Weekend” on Saturday and Sunday, April 1-2, 2017. This unique event brings together over 20 former SR-71 pilots, reconnaissance systems operators, maintainers and engineers for a rare reunion. Featured activities (included with regular museum admission) include special panel discussions and a cockpit presentation both days. Saturday night (advance tickets required) features a special dinner at the museum plus an optional cocktail hour featuring the assembled SR-71 crewmembers plus Robert Gilliland Jr., son of test pilot Robert J. “Bob” Gilliland (the first person to fly an SR-71).
The SR-71: Not Your Average Aircraft!
More than five decades after its development, the sleek and futuristic SR-71 Blackbird holds the distinction of being the fastest air-breathing, manned aircraft in the world. The SR-71 filled a desperate need for reliable strategic reconnaissance during the height of the Cold War. Designed to operate beyond the range of interception in both speed and altitude, the aircraft was a product of Lockheed engineers assigned to the Advanced Development Program under the leadership of Kelly Johnson, one of the 20th century’s most inspired aircraft designers. In 1976, more than 10 years after the first SR-71 flight, an SR-71 set two world records by reaching a speed of 2,193.167 mph and an altitude of 85,068.997 feet.
Daytime Activities for the SR-71Weekend
The museum’s SR-71 Weekend will feature panel discussions at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. The assembled former crewmembers will discuss their experiences with the SR-71, and answer questions from the audience during these approximately 90-minute panel sessions. This is a rare opportunity to witness over 20 former SR-71 pilots, reconnaissance systems operators, maintainers and engineers, all sharing their stories about the world’s fastest air-breathing, manned aircraft!
Also both days, a “cockpit discussion” will be led by SR-71 pilot Lt. Col. Jerry Glasser (USAF retired) starting at 1 p.m. This discussion will take place adjacent to the museum’s SR-71, 61-7975, which is housed in the main galleries and considered the best-preserved Blackbird in the West today. These activities will take place during the museum’s regular public hours (9 a.m.-4 p.m.) and are included with regular museum admission: $10 adults, $5 ages 5-11, free for ages 4 and under. Current-duty military and reserve personnel are free with military ID.
Special Saturday Evening Activities
Saturday night, April 1, a special SR-71 Reunion Banquet will be held beginning at 7 p.m. under the wings of the museum’s SR-71 Blackbird. The banquet will feature the opportunity to sit with a former SR-71 crewmember while enjoying a delicious meal. Also featured will be a talk by former SR-71 maintainer Mike Relja, discussing the recovery of Blackbird 974 after it crashed in the Phillipine Sea following the seizure and explosion of one of its engines on April 21, 1989. Reservations must be made in advance for the reunion banquet.
For those wishing an even more special experience, we’re offering something new for 2017: An optional, hosted “Cocktails with the Crew” reception will take place from 6 to 7 p.m.! The many SR-71 crewmembers will be present, along with special guest of honor Robert Gilliland Jr., son of the first person to fly an SR-71 (test pilot Bob Gilliland), who was present alongside his mom and sister to watch the very first-ever flight of the SR-71 with his dad at the controls! Attendees to the cocktail reception will of course be welcomed to dinner at 7 p.m. as well.
Tickets to the cocktail reception AND banquet are $150 per person ($125 for members), and include a special commemorative bottle of wine signed by the SR-71 Weekend crewmembers. Dinner-only tickets are available for $80 (museum members $70). To reserve, please call (951) 902-5123 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we may contact you personally for your ticket order. Seating is limited, reserve early to avoid disappointment!
Join us for SR-71 Weekend 2017 and “Reach For the Skies!
About the March Field Air Museum
The March Field Air Museum is located alongside Interstate Highway 215 at Van Buren Boulevard, just south of downtown Riverside and adjacent to March Air Reserve Base. Haven’t visited the museum lately? It’s TripAdvisor’s top-rated attraction in Riverside, and a must-see destination for anyone interested in military aviation. Along with friendly docents, numerous exhibits and more than 70 military aircraft on display, the museum features interactive exhibits highlighting the people, technology and history of Southern California military aviation. More than 70 aircraft are displayed, ranging from a modern-day MQ-1 Predator (remotely piloted aircraft), to early examples of military aircraft, to some of America’s most iconic military planes including World War II bombers. For more information about the museum, please visit www.marchfield.org or call (951) 902-5949.