Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2005/06/13

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Subject: [Leica] Re: SR-71 at the Smithsonian...
From: feli2 at (Feli)
Date: Mon Jun 13 01:09:55 2005
References: <> <>

On Jun 12, 2005, at 9:12 PM, Andrew Nemeth wrote:

> Another book I'd recommend is "Skunk Works" by Ben R. Rich & Leo Janos 
> ISBN 0-7515-1503.  It has a _lot_ on the SR-71 (Chapts 9-12).  One of 
> the more amusing facts is that most of the Titanium used to make the 
> thing was sourced, via back CIA channels, from the then Soviet Union!
> The Ruskies dug it up and, after a bit of processing, the Yanks flew 
> it back... :?)

I used to work in the old Skunk Works building in Burbank, California, 
which of all companies in the world was taken over by Disney, and 
became "Disney Feature Animation North Side". The Skunk Works building 
is where the SR-71, U2, FA-117 and god knows what else was designed.

Before Disney took the building over, it reportedly had no windows and 
was completely covered with a silver metal plating. Basically a giant 
metal cube. Some of the plating remains, today. Supposedly the original 
interior was setup to funnel anyone wandering around, to various 
checkpoints. You couldn't just get lost and stumble in to some place by 
accident, since movement was restricted.

When the building was refurbished the exterior walls were knocked out 
and replaced with glass. The building is now completely open. The 
ceilings aren't flat, but consist of a 2 foot deep, concrete honey comb 
pattern.  Some of the walls on the ground floor appear to be at least 5 
ft thick, solid concrete. The building itself is 4 or 5 stories tall 
(can't remember exactly how many). Supposedly there are several floors 
below, but again I never got a chance to verify if that was true.

Even with the new exterior walls being glass, it was impossible for me 
to use my cell phone. I would have to leave the building and go about 
100 yards away from it to get a clear signal. Same for radio and TV 
reception (I have a small portable LCD TV I use to watch breaking 
news). Rumor had it that the building incorporated a certain amount of 
radio shielding, due to the sensitive nature of the work being done 

The ground surrounding and under the building is contaminated with with 
jet and rocket fuel and they are using a ventilation system to 'clean' 
it up. The contamination probably originated from the Burbank airport 
across the street.


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In reply to: Message from azn at (Andrew Nemeth) ([Leica] Re: SR-71 at the Smithsonian...)