Luckiest Engineer: From Farm Boy to Skunk Works and Beyond

Luckiest Engineer: From Farm Boy to Skunk Works and Beyond

by Robert Retsch
Luckiest Engineer: From Farm Boy to Skunk Works and Beyond

Luckiest Engineer: From Farm Boy to Skunk Works and Beyond

by Robert Retsch


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What does it take to design and build the world's most sophisticated aerospace hardware? The coordinated efforts of thousands of people at all levels of design, fabrication, manufacturing, and test. In this memoir, a farm boy-turned-engineer relates with humor and aplomb 40 years of work in the aerospace industry. Specializing in rescuing troubled efforts that were over budget and behind schedule, he relates his own stories of pulling a project's bacon out of the fire while sharing insights about growing up in a values-driven Western Pennsylvania community and working his way through technical school and college. He reflects on life's idiosyncrasies, the knowledge he's collected, and struggles with spirituality. As an added bonus, the story illustrates the humorous side of aerospace engineering, with hilarious personal anecdotes coloring the pages.Aspiring engineers, seasoned professionals, and anyone fascinated by the history of aerospace will find this enjoyable memoir both inspirational and informative.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781098304171
Publisher: BookBaby
Publication date: 04/01/2020
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook
Pages: 290
Sales rank: 903,449
File size: 6 MB

About the Author

Robert Retsch has spent the last four decades in the aerospace industry, including working on Fixed Based Operators, Gas Turbine Engines, Aircraft, Satellites, Boosters and Reentry Vehicles. His training and education was in Aircraft Maintenance and Mechanical Engineering. Concentrating mostly in development, he has held positions ranging from mechanic to engineering aid, designer, lead design engineer, cost account manager and project manager, culminating as a subject matter expert.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgement iii

Dedication v

Musings from a B-737 ix

Part 1 1

On the Farm 3

Rearview Mirror 14

Quaker Heights and Station Stories 17

Communism and a Wake-up Call 31

Tech School 35

Pratt & Whitney 41

Florida Life 51

Pranks at Pratt 60

Grumman and Giving In 70

College Touch-n-Goes 75

Part 2 89

Initiations 91

Living the Dream 107

Uppers, Downers, and Filler-Uppers 120

Kelly Johnson's World 126

Serious Stuff, Old Films, and Greener Grass? 135

YF-22A and FB-1000 Rips 146

Management and Marriage 154

Samurai Minions and Crossing the Goal Line 163

Sayonara Burbank 173

Part 3 177

This Old House and Course Correction 179

Program Hopping 185

More Hopping 195

Satellites and Three Amigos 207

Concept 9 Nirvana and a Diagnosis 215

Resuming Nirvana 221

Won the Battle, Lost the War 233

To Huntsville and Back 237

Leaving California and Completing Circles 246

Poof 256

Un-Poof 259

Looking Back … 261

Helpful Stuff 265

Programs Referenced in Chronological Order 272

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