My grandmother, Audrey Shew worked for many years for Lockheed including the Skunk Works. She started in WW 11 and fininished up on the SR-71 which was initially named the YF-12A. In between she worked on P-38's. P-80's, Constellations, F-104's, Electra's, PV3 Orion's, the U-2 and of course the SR-71.
Before she worked at the Skunk Works I remember the FBI coming out and interviewing our family, friends and neighbors.
She never let on what she was working on for so long (we used to take regular tours of the Burbank factory)until President Johnson had a press conference announcing the plane. The pride my grandmother showed that day after many years of hard work and keeping silent...I still remember today. Of course we were all proud of what she worked on, as well as the plane itself.
My grandmother told us about the plane, some of the materials used. How she was bused or flown from Burbank to Palmdale to work on the project. She gave me a picture of the plane which I still have today. We even drove out too the factory to have a look from the outside.
Of course I kept track of the plane as it transformed from a high altitude interceptor to spy plane..including so many records.
My grandmother died of brain cancer just a few years after she retired from Lockheed. Could have been a coincidence. IMO most likely the many years working with materials we knew little about at the time and the lack of proper safety precautions.
To this day I still get a shiver when I see the planes on static display. It brings back so many memories of my younger days, my family as well as our families Rosy the riveter...my grandmother.
When I was on deployment in Okinawa back in 1989-90 me and a Marine buddy of mine seen one fly very low over our heads. He said "thats the sr-71 blackbird" I said "whats that". Quite a awesome plane..way ahead of it's time.
Has some interesting information on the suits the SR-71 pilot and RSO wore.
I highly recommend the book "SR-71 Secrets Revealed" to anyone who is interested in leaning more about the SR-71.
Trivia what does "SR" stand for?
I went to an air show that an SR71 did a flight demo they are fast!!!!!. once they are off the ground they seem to vanish,real fast. I read a book years ago titled Skunk Works and was about all the plane developement that Tenderloin mentioned in his post