Thursday, January 17, 2013

Living My Childhood Dream

And, I truly really enjoyed the ride
by Chuck R.

In my youth, I was very interested in aviation, building model airplanes and collecting photos of all the latest aircraft. I often thought how cool it would be to work for an aerospace company. I eventually got to work for two of them (Vought and Lockheed Martin), and I never had to change my desk or phone extension. My first “professional” exposure to Lockheed was as a contract engineer at Bendix Aerospace designing the landing gears for the Lockheed C-5A. These were some very complex systems and were designed before CAD or even the digital calculator. 

I moved on to LTV (Vought), which eventually was chosen as a sub to Lockheed on the S-3A where I worked on the environmental system. Still no CAD, but at least we had simple digital calculators. Drawings for the C-5 and S-3 were produced using ink on Mylar, a very labor intensive effort. I hired in at LTV in 1988, which eventually was acquired by Lockheed Martin. During my tenure at Lockheed Martin, I was fortunate to have been involved in the Shuttle leading edge and chin panel designs. In addition, I worked on the radiators for the International Space Station and finished out my career on the ATACMS program. 
I retired from Missiles and Fire Control, Dallas, in 2009 after 21 years as a senior staff mechanical engineer. I feel fortunate to have been a small part of history that produced some of the most technological advances in the aerospace history. It was a great ride.

I had an opportunity to meet astronauts!