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Meet Ruben Torrecampos

a photo of Ruben

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 years.

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.

Advice
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.

Personal
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.


 
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