Time Lapse: Spy Plane Coming In From The Cold

  • Mar 14, 2016 6:21am GMT

The Science Museum of Virginia has suspended a SR-71 Blackbird in a new Speed gallery opening in a few weeks. Taking what they call a "ship in a bottle approach" they went to a nearby outdoor exhibit at the Virginia Aviation Museum and took the jet apart. Then they moved it in through a second story hole in the wall piece by piece.

“Suspending a supersonic jet from the ceiling of a historic train station is perhaps one of the most unconventional presentations of an artifact, but it provides an iconic first impression to start the conversation about the science of speed,” says Richard Conti, Chief Wonder Officer, Science Museum of Virginia.

(concept illustrations of finished gallery and photos below the video. Credit: Science Museum of Virginia)

Before the plane traveled to Broad Street Station, engineers and Worldwide Aircraft Recovery experts raised the Blackbird using cranes to calculate the correct attitude for its placement. Worldwide Aircraft has moved over 2,500 aircraft including first moving this specific SR-71 Blackbird from California to Virginia in 1999. The company was responsible for the entire move, from disassembly to packaging and transportation to reassembly inside of the Science Museum of Virginia.

Weighing in at 43,000 pounds with a wingspan of 55 feet, the Blackbird fit snugly inside of the Museum’s main concourse where it will be featured as the principal artifact for the upcoming Speed exhibition.

Video: Science Museum of Virginia Richmond Time Lapse showcases a behind-the-scenes look at the development of the Science Museum of Virginia's next permanent exhibition, Speed. Enjoy a sneak peek at the construction and engineering behind the installation of the SR-71 Blackbird and Speed exhibit components!

About The Science Museum of Virginia

The mission of the Science Museum of Virginia is to inspire Virginians to enrich their lives through science. The Museum is a catalyst for inspiration, a place that sparks curiosity and generates ideas in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Through hundreds of experiential exhibits, awe-inspiring artifacts and interactive technologies, the Museum presents dynamic science programming to hundreds of thousands of guests each year.

The Museum features permanent exhibitions about space, health, electricity, and the earth—to name a few—and hosts visiting exhibitions from around the world. The Dome theater, at 76 feet, is the largest screen in Virginia and provides guests with the ultimate immersive experience.