Monday, January 28, 2013

Prototype Papa

As Superintendent of Special Projects, many sought Dad’s advice 
by Jan K.

According to my dad, in 1934, he walked into the employment office at Lockheed Burbank and announced the company was about to hire the best machinist it ever had. However true or embellished that story (you had to know him), Andy (A. J.) Kunsa went on to become the Superintendent of Special Projects, Plant C1. He earned the nickname “Prototype Papa” and worked there until his death in 1956. (As I understand, Special Projects was a precursor to Skunk Works, but I’ll let others attest to that.)

A trade school graduate, Dad enjoyed having engineers seek his advice. He would often say, “Well, it looks good on paper, but will it fly?” Yes, he had an ego.

Through Dad’s influence I was hired by the template shop in May 1956 and worked there until August 1966. I had a short stint in the new field of plastics, working for Scrubby Seboigian under John Kidder.

Ironically perhaps, I ended my tenure at Skunk Works working on the first of the Blackbirds.

It looked good on paper and it flew!