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Wed, Aug 27, 2003

California Science Center to Receive 2-Seat A-12 Blackbird

California Science Center to Show 2-Seat A-12 Blackbird Tomorrow

California Science Center CEO and President Jeff Rudolph has announced that a unique A-12 Blackbird spy plane (the CIA version of the U.S. Air Force SR-71 Blackbird) will be installed on Thursday, August 28, atop a newly-constructed subterranean parking structure set to open in December. The A-12, known for traveling much faster than the speed of sound, is fabricated entirely of titanium.

Unique, even among Blackbirds...

This particular aircraft is the only A-12 trainer ever constructed. It has also flown more flights and spent more hours in the air than any other A-12. The Blackbird exhibit installation heralds the upcoming California Science Center "Centennial of Flight Festival" celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers historic flight at Kitty Hawk.

Exhibit to span most of flight's history

The festival, which takes place November 15 and 16, will feature a fully restored flying replica of the Wright Brothers' 1902 glider, interactive exhibits, storytelling, hands-on workshops and presentations. From the Wright Glider to the supersonic A-12 Blackbird, visitors will see the progress humans have made in aviation and learn some of the challenges faced in designing air and spacecraft.

Classic large-format films shown in the Science Center IMAX Theater, such as To FLY, Silent Sky and crowd-favorite Space Station 3D, will take audiences up into the wild-blue yonder. In addition, the Microsoft(TM) 1903 Wright Flyer Simulator will be on hand, allowing guests a virtual experience of the thrill and excitement of the Wright Brothers historic flight. Another special highlight will include a military flyover along with flyovers of selected historic aircraft.

The arrival of the A-12 last week was enthusiastically followed by Blackbird buffs. The A-12 was assembled on-site to prepare it for installation on three pylons. It marks the latest addition to the Science Center's singular collection of planes and spacecraft, most of which are housed in or near the Science Center's Air & Space Gallery. "We are pleased to provide this A-12 exhibit as an example of the incredible science and technology that has taken place in the arena of air and space since the Wright Brother's successful flight a century ago," said CEO Jeff Rudolph.

FMI: www.californiasciencecenter.org [There's a cool time-lapse video of the assembly of the A-12 there, too --ed.]

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