National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Tom Benson

A Career in Aero Engineering

July 12, 2012

Mr. Tom Benson sat down to dinner with the RA’s to discuss his life and to give advice about how to live successful lives as engineering professionals. He grew up in Columbus, Ohio and eventually he went to The Ohio State University. After school, he went into the air force instead of being drafted. Stationed at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, he worked on inlet aerodynamics doing wind tunnel experiments for the military. This got him into contact with NASA Lewis Research Center. After serving in the military, he returned to OSU for grad school to study computational fluid dynamics.

After grad school, he went on to work for NASA. He started work on a Mach 5 inlet and shock boundary layer interactions. After that, he toured the country to speak on the National Aerospace Plane project. He then moved into management in the inlet Branch. After management, he worked on tank pressure control and nuclear propulsion for space applications. He is currently engaged in the educational outreach program. He likes to dress up as one of the Wright Brothers, and give talks on their airplane and the history surrounding it. Having such a long and varied career, Mr. Benson was able to share many words of wisdom. He bought the students dessert to exemplify the philosophy of “pay it forward”. Everyone had a great time and the Space Academy students got some advice from him about the group project.