Meet: Robert Scott
Site Leader for the National Full Scale Aeronautics Complex
I coordinate contract and NASA personnel for the maintenance and also the model build up and support for model aircraft for the models coming into the tunnel.
Today, I assigned personnel for the shark test, which is a radar evasive aircraft being tested in the wind tunnel right now. I assigned the people to operate this wind tunnel test and other tests. I also coordinate with engineers that are modifying the tunnel, by reviewing blue prints and going to meetings and design reviews on the meetings and model pick up and so on.
Everyone that is assigned to a test must meet the certification requirements for each test. For example if we are running the high pressure air system I must assign technicians who are trained in this. Technicians must be certified to run the 40 by 80 wind tunnel and the 80 by 120 tunnel to be assigned to work on tests in these tunnels.
Technicians need to keep their certifications up to date and be certified in various special jobs too. For example there are rotor operators, tunnel operators, high pressure air operators, propane operators and others. Most of us are trained in several different things. Rick McIlmoil one of our technicians for example has just about completed his training to be a 40 by 80 operator, he is a certified motor operator, he's a JLG operator, a crane operator and he can handle hazardous waste, and confined space entry. He is also a model mechanic. Felton Smith, another technician, is certified in both the 40 x 80 and the 80 x 120 for wind tunnel operation. He is also trained for critical lift operations.
My Career Path
I spent twenty years in aviation in the Navy. I was a jet engine mechanic and then I was a total aircraft mechanic and then I worked in quality assurance for the Navy for flight safety. When I retired from the Navy I came to Ames to apply for a job but the President put a government freeze. I was number one on the list so when the freeze was over I was hired. I went to the College of the Sequoias and a second year through courses in the Navy.
When I first started here the mechanics did everything, the maintenance on the tunnel, outside of operating the tunnel, and assisting Boeing and General Electric, putting the models in the tunnel. We get a layout from them, with the test specifics on it so that when we pick the model up we know where to put the struts on the model in the test section and everything clicks. Then we get the test specifics so we don't stress the model. In the design review meeting we go over these specifications so that we don't overstress the model. For the Wright Flyer Model we won't go over 30 knots. This is probably the slowest top end speed test we've ever had. Another slow test was the test for the parafoils for the solid rocket boosters.
Why I Like my Job
As A Child
Personnel I enjoy hiking. I go treasure hunting with my metal detector in the mountains at Lake Tahoe. After the snow melts, it breaks up the dirt. Sometimes I find gold nuggets and or flakes of gold.