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.
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
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