2011

Meet Our Readers: Sid Wood, Senior Scientist Engineer, Aircraft Navigation

In a new series, the editors of  NASA Tech Briefs magazine catch up with everyday engineers about their unique responsibilities and challenges. This week, we highlight fellow reader and aircraft navigation system professional, Sid Wood. If you'd like to be featured in our "Meet Our Readers" series, send an email to NASA Tech Briefs at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and tell us about your work.

Sid Wood, Senior Scientist Engineer

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Field/Expertise: Navy aircraft navigation systems.

What are your day-to-day responsibilities?

Sid Wood: I worked for the Navy as a civil service engineer for a number of years. I’ve since retired from civil service and now I’m working for a private company.  Patuxent River Naval Air StationNaval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR)What’s the biggest engineering challenge that you face?

Wood: Those varying requirements get to be stumbling blocks for the vendors that make the product. It’s all commercial industry that produces it, but they have to do it to the government’s specifications. And that’s where the problem comes in: What is that specification? Does that reflect something that the industry can do? Does technology exist for that?

Developing the new technology gets to be a pricy proposition. If you can apply existing technology to that particular task, then you’re way ahead of the game, both in time and dollars spent.

When I write a specification, I try to get what the cutting-edge requirements would be and then make those with existing technology. Sometimes the vendor, who would potentially use this, doesn’t even know that that technology even exists. Pulling those things together is an art form in a way. They don’t teach you that in engineering college.

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