I am a working level engineer for one of the large aerospace companies left in Southern California. I hold Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Princeton University, and a Masters of Science from the California Institute of Technology.
For the first five years of my career, I was mainly involved in Research and Development (R&D); helping to evaluate some of the concepts for future aircraft technology. I am now working on a major aircraft development program, turning some of those concepts into reality.
Although much of my work experience has involved wind tunnel testing, those tests have been conducted with small, sub-scale models built from steel or aluminum.
What amazes me most about this program is not its size, although the Wright Flyer is the largest test article I have dealt with, but the accuracy. Steel models, required for safety in high speed wind tunnels, don't bend and warp in the same way real airplanes do. Likewise, small parts, like the guy wires in the Flyer, cannot be scaled down in proportion to the rest of the model - they would loose strength or disappear entirely. This is the first model I have been associated with that should capture most of these effects directly, rather than having to analyze and correct for them later.