I was always fascinated by airplanes, and spaceships. My second largest collection of books, were airplane books, primarily military aircraft. The shear speed of the airplanes, the sophisticated weapons they carried, all interested me. I enjoyed attending airshows, and in particular recall my first experience seeing the Blue Angels. In fact I still dash outside of my house, as air force planes fly over where I live.
I call out the airplane type, F-22 Raptor, V-22 Osprey, F-18 Hornet, etc. In fact I followed the competitions for the JSF (Joint Strike Fighter) which is known as the F-35 Lightning II. And I still have my copy of Popular Mechanics issue covering the JSF!
Interesting Fact, before the F-22 was officially called Raptor, it was referred to as the Lightning II. I had a video game called F-22 Lighting II. But then they corrected it with F-22 Raptor.
So any guesses so far as to what my career choice was as a junior in High School?
I found myself intrigued and inspired by the F-22 Raptor, and I wanted to be part of creating such a fantastic powerful machine. One that could continue giving the United States air superiority.
Of course I had watched the movie Top Gun (F-14s), and the idea of out matching our enemies in the sky, was exciting. But I didn't have a desire to be a pilot, nor did I want to join the actual air force.
In fact I didn't even fly on an airplane, until my senior year of high school.
I was fairly good at math and science, and so Aerospace Engineering made sense as a career path. I could apply my skills in math and science, to creating something I really enjoyed thinking about; airplanes.
So I applied and was accepted to several universities that excelled in aerospace engineering, and so my career path was chosen.
Well at least until I realized maybe engineering wasn't what I thought it would be. As a boy I loved to draw, and so I would draw all sorts of things; dinosaurs, Civil War murals, construction equipment, and of course airplanes. But I wouldn't just draw one small piece or component to the airplane, but the whole thing.
And now, many years down the road, with a bit more insight into who I am, I realize that I was always more of a big vision person, a macro idea person. And while I have played my small part in many larger projects, when I was determining my career choice for the 'rest of my life' I didn't picture myself at a desk, drawing one small component for an airplane.
So alas, I still had yet to discover what I wanted to do for my career, and the countdown to graduation had begun.