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Meet Rich Grimm


Wind Tunnel Engineer,
Ames Research Center

Who I Am
I am a wind tunnel engineer here at NASA. For the Wright Flier project, I have collected information for the test of the flier in a pre-test report. This report gives the information required to run schedules, instrumentation lists, it gives a description of the model precision required, measurements to be made, and also provides data reduction. During the test I will be monitoring the measurements along with supporting the aerodynamicists, who are my customers.

My Education
In High School, I was a little bit better than average student, but I was best at chemistry, physics, and math. I went to Washington University in Saint Louis, MO. I studied mechanical engineering because that was what I did best. My senior year I did a senior project designing a wind tunnel balance. I wasn't even sure what a wind tunnel was then but I quickly found out. The school was in the process of building a small wind tunnel, and I got the assignment of designing and building a balance. This was very exciting. Looking back, that project represented about a third of my university education because you learn everything when you do everything: choice of materials, how to design it, what was sensitive and what was not sensitive, I did a lot . That was my introduction to wind tunnels.

I was invited to work with my senior project professor in designing the very large AEDC (Arnold Engineering Development Center) facilities. These are supersonic wind tunnels made in the 1950s, and I did calculations for the aeronautic design of those 16 tunnels. This was an Air Force Facility for designing propulsion systems.

My Career Path
Then as that job was beginning to wind down, I was invited to work at Northrop. I continued to work on facility design. I aided in the design of the Northrop 7x10 standard wind tunnel. I enjoyed working with the big machinery. I was associated with the wind tunnel group and so I ran wind tunnel tests too.

Later I worked at Rockwell Corporation in the late 60s and 70s working on projects like the B1 and others in the wind tunnel groups. My primary assignment was to engineer a new wind tunnel for Rockwell, a project which was canceled later. I loved the big fans, the big motors, the big compressors, and the exhausters. I loved the wind tunnel models!

I also worked for Marquardt Corporation. They did hypersonic propulsion research. I also did facility design work and research to test high-speed propulsion systems. This job began in the 1960s when there was a lot of research going on. I was there for a long time. I retired from wind tunnels in 1994 and then joined the Wright Flyer Project. I have been on the current project about two years.

My advice to young people is to be aware of what you do best and enjoy! I followed my heart to do what intrigued me and to do what I was successful at doing.

My eldest son is a geologist. My second son is a butcher in a small market in Beverly Hills. My daughter is a successful businesswoman at Capital Records in Hollywood. My wife Sheila is a Special Education Aide.

In my free time, I am very interested in old cars. I am a docent at the Petersen Automotive Museum, which is only four years old. My favorite old car is my 1959 Porsche 356. I bought it in about 1965 for my wife. I also had a 1960 Porsche coupe which I recently sold. Now we are down to just four cars.

My Future Goals
In the future I hope to continue my work at the Petersen Museum and enjoy life.

Credits and Contacts


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