Meet Ruben Torrecampo
Wind Tunnel Mechanic
National Full Scale Aeronautics Complex
Who I am
I am a wind tunnel mechanic. I operate the wind tunnel at anywhere from
0 to 3000 pounds per square inch. This is the measurement for high pressure
air. I also operate the fan drive and other equipment like the JLG, the
lift, and the crane. I am sort of a jack of all trades. I can install
other things, like electronics and instrumentation as well.
My Career Path
I sort of fell into this career in a way. Before this job, I was in
the U.S. Navy as a jet mechanic when I retired I was a Petty Officer First
Class. I worked at bases from Pensacola, Florida, to Hawaii, Japan. I
enjoyed traveling and learning about other cultures. Even though we are
in the military, we are ambassadors from the United States, and we had
to respect local rules and local customs.
I am from the Philippines, which is a when I took the Navy entrance
exam, I was one of three who passed the exam out of three hundred applicants.
As a child I loved to read. I read all of the Sunday paper. I was especially
interested in news of foreign countries. I also went to the library to
get books out on foreign lands and the United States and I have always
been interested in the U.S. having seen the war movies, and the Westerns.
I owe a lot to this country, if I were still in the Philippines I would
have a hard life. I still have family there and I visit about every five
I worked on P3 and helicopters. You don't need an Airframes and Parts,
A&P license, which is a civilian license in the military. You are trained
on all military engines, which are very similar. You are well trained
and at the end of the day you know you can relax and don't have to worry
about the pilot's safety. When I came to NASA Ames Research Center, I
was one of twenty applicants. I think my military resume and training
made the difference.
Why I like my job
The best part of my job is meeting other people, and working on the various
projects. Working at NASA Ames Research Center is unique. Other jobs don't
offer you the opportunity to work on state of the art airplanes. I am
given a lot of responsibility and independence in this job. I enjoy the
variety of tasks. I get to do inspections, repairs, and operate machinery.
I have been here ten years. One exciting test I work on was to make an
eighteen-wheeler more aerodynamic to save gas. Another interesting test
I worked on studied the turbulence caused by large planes like 747's.
I have taken electronic technician courses and computer programming for
self-improvement. I advise students to stay in school and learn about
computers. Today you need to know more to do this job because more technology
is involved in our work. Children should socialize but don't forget about
self-improvement. Take advantage while you are under the umbrella of your
parents. The military offers you the opportunity to travel, and getting
trained and paid.
I have two daughters who are nurses. I am very proud of my daughters;
they paid for their own education. My son is pursuing his high school
diploma. For fun I have taken classes in Tai Chi and Yoga.