Welcome back Tom,
I have always enjoyed your explanations. You are one engineer that makes sense to me, that does not happen often...
Thanks for sharing what you have been given.
Mike, Thank you for the comment. To me an engineer is a guy that operates steam locomotives which I never got to do but would have loved as a life.
Starting when I was 10 years old, I spent many a Saturday morning walking around he MP roundhouse in San Antonio whenever the supervisor was not there. The guys changing boiler tubes or making rod bearings got used to this kid being everywhere around and they would warn me before the super showed up. I learned about metal fatigue when I was 11 years old and made a suspension for the trailer I had made for my bicycle that I carried my baby brother in. The platform that carried the axle was attached along the front edge with a row of nails and there were bed springs on the back edge. The nails fatigued so I switched to barn door hinges and that worked out well. I built a large crossbow from scratch when I was 12, finding out soon that lemon wood that was said to be good for a bow was unreliable so my second choice was a piece of spring steel from St. Louis Spring Company on Avenue E. I selected 1/4" by 2" by 60" and did my grinding and drilling and took it back to them to temper. The trigger mechanism was rough and had to be refined, and several iterations took me to 1/8" aircraft control cable before there was a bow string strong enough. The first time I fired it knocked my skinny body several feet backward and I hit on my back and head. It would shoot very very hard but not very accurate.
I guess I never stopped designing and making things because it was too much fun. Because I was designing bass horns I met another audiophile who was Ed Swearingen. At the time he was helping Bil Lear design the L2 Auto pilot but he decided to start an airplane company and build a business twin called the Merlin, making a new body to fly on Beech Twin Bonanza Wings and horizontal tail. His next step was a whole new airplane so he had a group of engineers designing a P-51 airfoil wing. I walked buy them one day on my way to where the pipe organs we built were happening and saw these engineers designing the wing flaps with Ed telling them how he wanted it done with four-bar links. Knowing unsolicited advice was seldom appreciated, I told Ed that his links would be subjected to twisting because the wing was tapered and therefore the motion lines would fan out and back. Ed said that wouldn't hurt because the links would just wind up. I said bad design and for the first time in our some years friendship he got mad at me and said "if you are so f****ing smart go design the son of a B***ch your self" So I did. Then the ailerons. Then the landing gear. Gust lock, Flap interconnect, and on and on and soon was the head of R&D of Swearingen Aircraft.
Fortunately, over time I had some chances to do things and got to be with some very neat people. Bill and Moya Lear, Sam Williams, Clay Lacy, Sir Ralph Robbns, Norm Wilson and many others called me Tom or Tommy. One night there was a kick off Diner when the company I worked for, DHC, won the contract to build the flying command post for Saudi under King Fahad. Jim Austin, top engineering manager at that time for Boeing addressed me directly from the podium at the dinner and said we (DHC) would never be able to certify the massive job with the FAA. Probably 75 very high level people at that dinner in Seattle. We did certify it and Boeing Ops management said that I knew more about the 747 than any man alive. That just simply was what needed to happen because we had done what Boeing said was the larges modification of an aircraft in the world. Boeing had people that knew a lot more about landing gear than me and others that know a lot more about control rigging than me but no one in Boeing needed to know the whole airplane. The 747 was designed by several companies like Northrop, and others who each had a part of the plane to do.
I still liked steam locomotives and motorcycles. I did airplanes because they needed to be done.
Guess I got runaway fingers again.
Help downsize Government
! Encourage private industry!
Make things here, sell them in the Mid and Far East!!
Ship goods out. Bring dollars in. Strengthen America!!
Texan since 36, Rider since 52, Bike/Trailer riden' since 57. Passed 1,000,000 motorcycle miles 6/16/08.
'10 GL 1800A '04 GL 1800A, '04 Tailwind XTc (We make 'em), '75 TEFCO Streamliner