Skunk Works, 370 pages by Ben R. Rich and Leo Janos (co-author of Yeager).
“Dynamite – the true story of one of America’s crown jewels” Tom Clancy
Personally, I have for some time been extremely concerned with the complete lack of appreciation for recent history in our college-educated children. Being born in 1957 my family had no television, AM Radio only, lit the oven with a match, one home phone…complete with a 20’ cord, ….no color TV, no internet, no computers, In my just my lifetime we have walked on the moon, miniaturized the power of a mainframe computer into a laptop computer and then into a phone that fits in your pocket. The 57 Chevy has evolved into a 700 HP Corvette, cars are now electric and drive themselves. My first IBM PC had 512K of memory, two floppy drives no communication and cost me $5,000 in 1983!
All that said I picked up Skunk Works as I have always been fascinated by technological leaps and visionaries that take huge risks, by aviation, as everyone that grew up in the 50s and 60s wanted to be a jet pilot or an astronaut and by space travel. In this book you will read the stories of the development of the first spyplane (The U2), the fastest plane ever built (The SR-71 Blackbird), the original stealth fighter (F-117) and the current state of the art stealth fighter (F-35).
As recounted by Ben Rich, the operation’s brilliant boss for nearly two decades, the story of Lockheed’s legendary Skunk Works is a drama of cold war confrontations and Gulf War air combat, of extraordinary feats of engineering and human achievement against fantastic odds. Here are up-close portraits of the maverick band of scientists and engineers who made the Skunk Works so renowned. Filled with telling personal anecdotes and high adventure, with narratives from the CIA and from Air Force pilots who flew the many classified, risky missions, this book is a riveting portrait of the most spectacular aviation triumphs of the twentieth century.
Do yourself a favor…. If you are interested in these subjects this 20-year-old book is a fascinating read. Pick it up!