SR-71 Spy-Posium

BACK FROM THE SHADOWS

The SR-71 SPY-POSIUM

The Air Zoo's "SR-71 Spy-posium" brings together crew and fans of the world's only remaining SR-71B Blackbird. During this multiday event, Blackbird pilots, RSOs and maintainers join us to recount stories, give tours and host panel discussions. Stay tuned for more information about our next SR-71 Spy-posium. Check out the photos from this incredible event.


2022's Spy-posium

Friday, August 12- Monday, August 15

Join us for a weekend you won’t forget, as we celebrate the world’s only remaining SR-71B Blackbird. Twenty humans that were involved in the training, maintenance and reconnaissance missions the Blackbird served in the Cold War will be on site to recount sorties, give tours of the cockpits (open for this event only!!!) and other exciting elements of the Blackbird. Special guests include a Lockheed Historian who will share fascinating stories about Lockheed and Skunk Works engineering and program development. This extended weekend event will feature panel discussions, one-on-one tours, new Blackbird and Spy-posium souvenirs in the Fly Buy Gift Shop (including a special One Well Blackbird Porter), the Blackbird Affair, a ticketed fundraising event with limited opportunities for a sit-in cockpit tour with a pilot, and so much more! 

Special thanks to our program sponsors. The 2022 SR-71 Spy-posium has been generously underwritten by William Blair.  Supporting sponsors include: KalBlue Group, Esper Electric, Metro Toyota,  Edward Jones Investments, Tom Schripsema, Financial Advisor, RAI Jets, S&T Landscape Services, Discover Kalamazoo and One Well Brewing.

Spy-posium Schedule:

Daily activities include open cockpits, exploration stations, aircraft tours and crew-led panel discussions.

Friday 9am-5pm

It's Kids Day! Ask an Air Zoo team member for an activity sheet to complete for a special prize!

1pm | Join us in the event space by the Blackbird's nose. The mission - your child will engineer their own paper plane. If it qualifies in round one, they may get to compete with an SR-71 crew member!

Saturday 9am-5pm

9-11am | Exploration Stations
10:30am-12pm | Breaking World Records: The SR-71's Need for Speed with Q&A, Panel Moderator: Al Joersz
12:30-1:30pm | 360 SR-71 A Model Cockpit Tour with Jerry Glasser & Doug Soifer
1-3pm | Exploration Stations
2-3:30pm | The SR-71 Experience Pod Discussions

Saturday 6-10pm - Blackbird Affair - Ticketed Event

Join us for an intimate night with the pilots, trainers, RSOs and crew members who made history flying in or working on the world's fastest plane!  The night will include hearty appetizers, adult beverages, mingling, breakout sessions, aircraft tours with guest speakers and for some, a seat and private tour in one of the two Blackbird cockpits.

Sunday 10am-noon

Members Only Morning: Coffee with the Crew

Sunday noon-5pm

12-2pm | Exploration Stations
1-2:30pm | Stealth Legends and Legacies with Q&A, Panel Moderator: Tom Danielson
2-4pm | Exploration Stations
3-4pm | 360 SR-71 A Model Cockpit Tour with Jerry Glasser & Doug Soifer

Monday 9am-5pm

Educational & Group Tours - TBD
1-2:30pm | The SR-71 Experience, Stealth Legends and Legacies with Q&A, Panel Moderator: Stormy Boudreaux


Thank you Sponsors

Meet the Blackbird Crew

STORMY BOUDREAUX
STORMY BOUDREAUX
Stormy Boudreaux (Maj. USAF Ret.) earned his wings in 1969 and went on to garner 6,500 military and 1,500 civilian hours of flying time as well as the Distinguished Flying Cross and 19 Air Medals. He arrived at Beale AFB in 1979 flying the U-2C and U-2R before flying the SR-71, which he piloted from 1982-1986.
DAVID BURNS
DAVID BURNS
David A. Burns (MSgt. USAF Ret.) entered the USAF in 1970 and, following Jet Aircraft Maintenance Specialist (Jet 1 & 2) training, worked on aircraft including the SR-71A and B models. While with the SR-71 program, Burns served as the Crew Chief of #956, the Air Zoo’s SR71B trainer, at Beale AFB and was awarded SAC Master Crew Chief.
ROBBY BUTTERFIELD
ROBBY BUTTERFIELD
Robby Butterfield (MSgt. USAF Ret.) joined the USAF in 1973. He served in the Blackbird program from 1982-1984 as crew chief and 1984-1989 as superintendent of maintenance at Mildenhall RAFB, England. He retired honorably after 20 years of service. Shortly after his retirement, an illness acquired from his participation in the Gulf War paralyzed Butterfield from the neck down. He pushed through to walk again, and his resolve carries him still.
BUZ CARPENTER
BUZ CARPENTER
Buz Carpenter (Col. USAF Ret.) completed pilot training in 1968. In addition to flying aircraft including the T-38 and U-2, Carpenter flew the SR-71 worldwide as an aircraft commander and later, as an instructor pilot with over 65 operational missions in which he accrued 777 hours. He shares his stories at events, in videos, and as a Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Center docent. Buz is a member of the Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame.
KIM 'CHRIS' CHRISTENSEN
KIM " CHRIS" CHRISTENSEN
Kim "Chris" Christensen entered the USAF in 1974. Arriving at Beale AFB in 1975,Chris performed heavy maintenance on aircraft including the SR-71A & B, the U-2, the T-38 Talon, KC-135 Tankers and the B-52 Stratofortress. During his USAF career, Chris served at Kadena AFB in Japan, Williams AFB in Arizona and Mildenhall in the United Kingdom.
TOM DANIELSON
TOM DANIELSON
Tom Danielson (Lt. Col. USAF Ret.) entered the USAF in 1972. During a 24-year career, Danielson flew several aircraft including SR-71A/B Blackbird, U-2 Dragon Lady and the T-38 Talon. He is the only pilot to fly operationally in the SR-71 (1985-1988) before the U-2 (1988-1994). He retired from the Air Force in 1996. He currently is the Chairman of both the Blackbird Association and the Blackbird Reunion Committee.
JERRY GLASSER
JERRY GLASSER
Jerry Glasser (Lt. Col. USAF Ret.) has over 900 hours in the Blackbird (1980-86). An SR-71 instructor pilot and director of simulator and aircraft systems training, Glasser flew 110 worldwide operational missions. In 1986, he flew the first Libyan SR-71 post-strike mission. He flew integrated SR-71/Space Shuttle evaluations and sorties as well as the 1000th flight of the Air Zoo’s SR-71B.
ARNIE GUNDERSON
ARNIE GUNDERSON
Arnie started his career with Pratt & Whitney in 1974. He was assigned to the J58 Engine Group and after five years became a Field Engineering Representative. He spent the next ten years supporting the SR-71. Arnie took over the J58 Overhaul Line. He was part of the accident investigation team when SR-71 #974 crashed near the Phillipines. Arnie continues to support the Blackbird legacy and docents at the Evergreen Air & Space.
ED HALL
ED HALL
Elwin “Ed” Hall (MSgt. USAF Ret.) was assigned to the 9th Organizational Maintenance Squadron at Beale AFB in 1965. He serviced and inspected SR-71s and became a Crew Chief. After 20 years, he retired as Assistant Branch Chief of the 9th OMS Maintenance Branch. Fifteen of those years he worked on the SR-71s. After retirement Ed worked for a year at a remote site on the U-2R and a year at Mildenhall RAFB, England as a Lockheed Maintainer.
MIKE HULL
MIKE HULL
Michael Hull (MSgt. USAF Ret.) enlisted in 1973 and became qualified as an Electronic Warfare Systems Technician working both the U-2 & SR-71 programs. With 22 years on the SR-71, he helped incorporate many Defensive and Electromagnetic System upgrades, especially during his eight years at operational Detachment 1 and the SR-71 reactivation in 1994.
AL JOERSZ
AL JOERSZ
Al Joersz (MGen. USAF Ret.) served in the USAF for 31 years piloting numerous aircraft, with over 60 operational missions in the SR-71. In 1976 he set the world Absolute Speed Record of 2,193 MPH in the SR-71. During his Air Force career, he held several positions at the Pentagon, the Department of Energy and in NATO. After his Air Force service, he worked for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, retiring in 2011. He was awarded three Distinguished Flying Crosses and the Defense Distinguished Service Medal.
FLOYD JONES
FLOYD JONES
Floyd Jones (MSgt. USAF Ret.) entered the USAF in 1966. Assigned to Beale AFB in 1967, Jones became an SR-71 Crew Chief/Phase Inspector. After international assignments, he returned to Beale in 1980 where he
became an SR-71 Inspection Dock Chief. Later, Jones worked with SR-71 flight testing and scheduled an SR-71 aircraft wash at Beale.
STEPHEN JUSTICE
STEPHEN JUSTICE
Stephen Justice retired from his dream employer, Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works, in 2017. His experience bridges from operations analysis-based requirements derivation through system flight test. Skunk Works’ historian Justice also held numerous leadership roles, including configuration lead, chief engineer, and program manager.
MIKE KITCHELL
MIKE KITCHELL
Mike Kitchell served at Beale Air Base from 1970-1972. Mike was an Environmental Control Specialist. His job consisted of heating, air conditioning and pressurization, along with liquid oxygen for support breathing and liquid nitrogen systems to pressurize the fuel tanks. He worked for the 9th Field Maintenance Squadron with Chief Master Sgt. Dutch Holland, Tech Sgt. Harold Webster, and Tech Sgt. Davacato.
EDDIE MCKIM
EDDIE MCKIM
Ed McKim joined the SR-71 program as an RSO in 1980 and flew over 400 hours. Ed’s crew was the last shot at by a surface-to air missile from North Korea. The SR-71’s speed and ECM saved the day, and the aircraft was unharmed. Following retirement from the Air Force he worked for the legendary Lockheed Martin Skunkworks as the SR-71 deputy program manager.
JOHN MURPHY
JOHN MURPHY
John Murphy (Col. USAF Ret.) entered USAF active duty in 1972 and, after serving assignments including B-52 navigator and bombardier and flying combat missions, he entered SR-71 RSO training at Beale AFB. He was teamed up with Buz Carpenter and years later, they remain brothers and best friends. Murphy looks forward to teaming up with Buz again at the Air Zoo.
JACK SCHAAB
JACK SCHAAB
Jack Schaab arrived at Beale AFB in 1975. He spent two years on the Flightline doing BPOs, preflights, launches, recoveries, lubes, was qualified on all checklist, refuels, defuels, Yo-Yos, and did two refuels off the tanker on road trips. Jack was assistant crew chief on #958 on swing shift and was part of the crew that participated in the 1976 speed and altitude record setting.
DOUG SOIFER
DOUG SOIFER
Doug Soifer (Lt. Col. USAF Ret.) flew the Blackbird from 1985 to 1989. He logged over 500 hours in the SR-71 and was awarded four air medals. He flew one of the most sensitive and demanding missions (11.2 hours) of the SR-71 program. Soifer retired from the Air Force in Fort Walton Beach and worked for The Boeing Company for 16 years as Program Manager of several classified military programs and retired in 2014
BC THOMAS
BC THOMAS
Bredette C. “BC” Thomas (Lt Col. USAF Ret.) holds the record for the most hours flown in SR-71s, and is the only person to have flown all three high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft: the RB-57F, U-2, and Blackbird. His USAF career includes assignment to Beale AFB where he flew as an instructor, evaluator, test pilot, and garnered 65 missions in the Air Zoo’s SR-71B.
ED YEILDING
ED YEILDING
Ed Yeilding (Lt. Col. USAF Ret.) received his pilot training in 1973. In 1983, he was selected for the SR-71 at Beale, flew 93 SR-71 overseas reconnaissance missions, and became a Blackbird instructor, evaluator, and test pilot. In 1990, when the SR-71 was retired, Yeilding and his RSO, JT Vida, set a coast-to-coast speed record upon delivering a Blackbird to the Smithsonian.
MIKE ZIMMERMAN

MIKE ZIMMERMAN

Mike Zimmerman (Lt. Col. USAF Ret.) was the program manager in charge of the SR-71 Reactivation from 1994 – 1999. He was responsible for the reactivation of 3 SR-71s, spare parts, sensors, defensive systems, KC-135T capability, simulator, worldwide fuel deployment, worldwide datalink and other system-wide upgrades.

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