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  Downey becomes AIAA Historic Aviation site

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Author Topic:   Downey becomes AIAA Historic Aviation site
E2M Lem Man
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Posts: 793
From: Los Angeles CA. USA
Registered: Jan 2005

posted 05-06-2010 04:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for E2M Lem Man     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics announced that it will conduct a ceremony designating the industrial site in Downey, California as a Historic Aerospace Site.
On 21 May, former AIAA President George Muellner will officiate at a ceremony designating the Downey Industrial Plant, in Downey, Calif., as a Historic Site.

This site saw the development of some of the most important air and spacecraft of the last 80 years, including the P-51 Mustang, the X-15, the Apollo command module, and the space shuttle.

Companies located here included EMSCO Aircraft, Security Aircraft, Champion Aircraft, Consolidated Vultee, North American Aviation, Rockwell International, and Boeing North American Rockwell.

The Aerospace Legacy Foundation is proud to be part of the site commemoration.

AFGAS
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Posts: 89
From: Merritt Island, FL
Registered: Feb 2008

posted 05-07-2010 05:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for AFGAS   Click Here to Email AFGAS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Congrats on making this happen, Jim!

E2M Lem Man
Member

Posts: 793
From: Los Angeles CA. USA
Registered: Jan 2005

posted 05-26-2010 01:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for E2M Lem Man     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the complement - but it was the TEAM here at ALF, mostly our President Gerry Blackburn. But thank you none the less!

The event was held under blistery skies last Friday in the lovely Endeavour room of the old main building. Sadly, Tesla announced the day before that it was not going to use the site here for a car plant, as it entered into a partnership with Toyota the day before to build in northern California. "But we will find a better project," Mayor Anne Bayer told me.

Many of the old hands were present, including my mentor who handed me a bag of goodies going back to his days on the Dyna Soar (X-20) program! I handed him a box set of HBO's "From the Earth to the Moon" tapes.

(A fun note - he was on the post fire Apollo 1 review board, and supplied us with info and badges - so on the "Apollo 1" episode - we gave his name to the character who turns off the hangar lights near the end of the episode!) (He can really be seen giving Frank Borman a tour of the Apollo 2 CM in the Spacecraft Film's "Apollo 1" DVD set.)

Over 100 people attended the private ceremony, including the Vice President of Boeing, who closed the plant in 1999. Others included Tom Mesmer, the President of Downey Studios, also National and local AIAA officials, and her Honor, the Mayor of Downey.

The plaque is in our office at ALF. It will be placed outside the original Rotunda, once a suitable rock to attach it to is located. I will submit some photos soon!

J.M. Busby
Aerospace Legacy Foundation

Fezman92
Member

Posts: 1030
From: New Jersey, USA
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 05-26-2010 02:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fezman92   Click Here to Email Fezman92     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Congrats! Are you guys going to try to get one of the Shuttles from NASA? It would be very fitting to have one at the place it was built.

Sy Liebergot
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Posts: 458
From: Pearland, Texas USA
Registered: May 2003

posted 05-26-2010 10:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Sy Liebergot   Click Here to Email Sy Liebergot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Huge congratulations! I have many vivid memories of my time there.

E2M Lem Man
Member

Posts: 793
From: Los Angeles CA. USA
Registered: Jan 2005

posted 05-27-2010 03:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for E2M Lem Man     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks guys. No, we are not going for a flown shuttle.

We already have the very first full scale orbiter ever built. The wooden mock up built in 1974. NASA donated it to the city in 1999 and it is still on the site, as the city plans on a second building to put it into, sometime in the future.

This unnamed shuttle was the first orbiter many new astronauts ever saw.

Thank You Sy, I hope we get you back here for a visit someday!

FFrench
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Posts: 3093
From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 09-03-2011 07:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jerry Blackburn of the Aerospace Legacy Foundation and the City of Downey kindly arranged a behind-the-scenes tour of this historic plant for Al Worden when he visited Downey last week. Here are some behind-the-scenes photos.

In a public court at one end of the former plant site, there are plaques on the walls commemorating many of the spacecraft built there. Here is Al with the Apollo 15 plaque.

At the other end of the plant a hospital has been built, and one doctor there has filled many hallways with photos and other images commemorating the space program. Here is Al looking at an Apollo 15 section.

Al in front of the old Building 290, at one time the largest clean room in the world, where Apollo spacecraft and space shuttle crew cabins were built.

Al touring inside the old building 290. It is now used for filming movies and TV shows, and that day was filmed with the sets for the "Yo Gabba Gabba!" show.

FFrench
Member

Posts: 3093
From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 09-03-2011 07:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When space crews returned to Downey after their missions, they landed by helicopter and walked a painted "red carpet." It is still there, and here is Al back again after 40 years.

Al with one of the two Apollo boilerplates now back at the Downey site.

A sign on the wall at Downey.

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