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March 11, 1999
QuestChat with Pete Zell

Facility Manager, National Full-Scale Aerodynamics Complex
Ames Research Center
Moffett Field, CA

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 1 - 10:21:52 ]
Hello! Today's Quest chat with Pete Zell will begin in about 10 minutes. Be sure you have read Pete's bio at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/team/zell.html

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 4 - 10:34:54 ]
A quote from Pete's bio: "I would encourage kids to spend time building models and developing their drawing skills. It's great to be into computers but don't let that discourage you from working on models, cars, machines, and model airplanes. "

[ PeteZell/ARC - 6 - 10:36:18 ]
RE: [Sarabeth/Briones] Pete how is the test going?
The test is going very well. We are about 2 days away from finishing up. The data is looking good and we feel there are some interesting results that will be reported.

[ PeteZell/ARC - 8 - 10:40:55 ]
RE: [Sarabeth/Briones] Did everything go as expected? I heard you might see some lift in the wings?
The data we are gathering is being compared to an earlier wind tunnel test using a stiff metal model. We are seeing more lift from the wings of this flexible model due to the fabric moving in the wind.

[ FitzKidsEvansSchool - 10 - 10:41:17 ]
Hello Mr. Pete Zell

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 11 - 10:42:24 ]
RE: [FitzKidsEvansSchool] Hello Mr. Pete Zell
Hey FitzKids! Welcome to today's chat with Pete Zell:-) Send in your questions!

[ PeteZell/ARC - 13 - 10:43:10 ]
RE: [Sarabeth/Briones] What was your favorite test?
All of the tests I have worked on have had interesting challenges. One of my favorites was when we tested a huge jet engine that will use less fuel and be quieter than today's engines.

[ PeteZell/ARC - 16 - 10:44:38 ]
RE: [Sarabeth/Briones] how is the wright flyer test different from the other low speed tests
We are testing at really low speeds. 30 miles per hour is very slow compared to most tests we do. 150 to 250 is our usual speed.

[ PeteZell/ARC - 17 - 10:46:12 ]
RE: [Tony-FitzKidsEvansSchool] Should we makes our wings long or small?
It depends on what you want your airplane to do. If you want a glider that will stay up for a long time without an engine, make the wings very long and slender. If you want a fighter plane that will fly fast and make quick turns, make the wings short and pointed.

[ PeteZell/ARC - 21 - 10:47:29 ]
RE: [FitzKidsEvansSchool] Have you ever made a glider that ever works?
I have built radio control gliders that work very well. It is fun to fly them on sand dunes near the ocean.

[ PeteZell/ARC - 23 - 10:49:00 ]
Yes, the main wing of most airplanes is very close to the center of gravity. Usually, the center of gravity is about one quarter of the wing chord width back from the front edge.

[ PeteZell/ARC - 28 - 10:51:01 ]
RE: [Tony-FitzKidsEvansSchool] When we fly our planes they catch air go upwards then backflip out of control. What should we do?
You need a little more weight in the nose. Try a paper clip or some clay. Get your plane gliding well straight ahead.

[ PeteZell/ARC - 29 - 10:52:23 ]
RE: [Sarabeth/Briones] how is the wind tunnel different from flying? is it the same inside as outside?
The airplane model in a wind tunnel is held still and we blow air over it. Flying has the airplane moving through the air.

[ PeteZell/ARC - 33 - 10:54:02 ]
Gliders are light. Sometimes you need to add a little weight to make them fly level though.

[ PeteZell/ARC - 34 - 10:55:57 ]
RE: [Tony-FitzKidsEvansSchool] How do we make our gliders so that they go farther?
Make sure they glide nice and level first. No loop-d-loops!

[ PeteZell/ARC - 38 - 10:58:35 ]
RE: [AlexandriaFitzKidsEvansSchool-FitzKidsEvansSchool] Our first redesign has too much wieght in front. what can you do to help?
If you can't remove some of the weight, try moving the wings toward the nose a bit. If you put your fingers about 1/4 of the wing width back under the wing, it should be level. Your teacher can help with that.

[ PeteZell/ARC - 40 - 11:00:15 ]
RE: [Tony-FitzKidsEvansSchool] What would happen if we made the horizontal stabilizer longer? Would it make the glider fly farther?
No, it would probably slow it down just a bit and make your glider come down faster.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 42 - 11:00:29 ]
FitzKids: Do you have any questions for Pete about his job? Would any of you like to do what Pete does?

[ PeteZell/ARC - 45 - 11:02:17 ]
RE: [Tony-FitzKidsEvansSchool] If we made the gliders heavier at the the end of the plane would it fly better?
If it noses down when you throw it level, you have too much weight in the nose. If it climbs up and tries to do a loop, you need more weight in the nose.

[ PeteZell/ARC - 47 - 11:04:07 ]
RE: [Sarabeth/Briones] Would you like to fly the wright flyer?
The 1903 Wright Flyer will be hard to fly because it was the first powered airplane and it didn't perform that great. I think flying one of the airplanes that came later would be more fun.

[ PeteZell/ARC - 50 - 11:05:09 ]
RE: [Sarabeth/Briones] Could you test the wright flyer at 150?
No, the model would break if we went that fast.

[ PeteZell/ARC - 53 - 11:06:51 ]
RE: [AlexandriaFitzKidsEvansSchool-FitzKidsEvansSchool] Hey Pete, what does your job have to do with the project? Do you like working with us?
I am the test manager for the Wright Flyer test. I make sure that the test is done safely and that we gather as much of the information that the researchers want.

[ PeteZell/ARC - 55 - 11:09:38 ]
RE: [Rudy-FitzKidsEvansSchool] It me Rudy again and I want to know how many math courses do you need to be a engineer?
You need to take a lot of math courses to be an engineer. Math is really neat though when you start using it to solve problems. In college, lots of the math courses have fun practice problems that teach you how engineers and scientists work.

[ PeteZell/ARC - 58 - 11:11:02 ]
RE: [Sarabeth/Briones] What is the strangest thing you ever tested in the wind tunnel?
We recently tested the road signs that you see by the side of the road. The new ones have springs that make them lay down when the wind starts to blow.

[ PeteZell/ARC - 64 - 11:13:23 ]
RE: [Rogricardo-FitzKidsEvansSchool] Who started this wright flyers progect? And why did she or he?Should we put clay on to make it fly better? In this history of making planes like we are did any ones stay up morethan 4 minutes?
The Wright Flyer project was started about 20 years ago by a bunch of folks who love aviation and wanted to do something special to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brother's flight. The first flight of the Wright Flyer lasted only 12 seconds, but this time grew and grew from there.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 65 - 11:13:26 ]
RE: [AlexandriaFitzKidsEvansSchool-FitzKidsEvansSchool] Is Jan Wee a man or a woman? We have had some debates about that.
I'm not sure what this has to do with today's chat withPete, but Jan is a woman.

[ PeteZell/ARC - 67 - 11:14:54 ]
RE: [Sarabeth/Briones] Because the Wright Flyer has two wings does it get more lift?
The Wright Flyer is a bi-plane (has two wings). It creates more lift than a mono-plane (one wing) but not twice as much.

[ PeteZell/ARC - 68 - 11:15:27 ]
RE: [Rudy-FitzKidsEvansSchool] When we saw the pictures of the airfoils, it is curved. How can we curve balsa wood?
Try getting it wet and then drying one side with a hair dryer.

[ AlexandriaFitzKidsEvansSchool-FitzKidsEvansSchool - 70 - 11:16:18 ]
See you next time Pete!! Bye!!

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 71 - 11:16:51 ]
EVERYONE: There are just 15 minutes left in today's chat with Pete!

[ PeteZell/ARC - 72 - 11:17:06 ]
RE: [Tony/Christina-FitzKidsEvansSchool] What was your favorite thing to do on this project?
I really like working with the team of people who built the model and planned out the test. Many of them are retired and in their 70s. They have so many great stories to tell about when they were young engineers working on airplanes and spacecraft.

[ PeteZell/ARC - 73 - 11:17:38 ]
RE: [AlexandriaFitzKidsEvansSchool-FitzKidsEvansSchool] Some of us used markers on the gliders. Should we do this?
Yes. It makes them look cool.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 74 - 11:18:23 ]
EVERYONE: Be sure to let us know how you enjoyed today's chat and if there's anything we can do to make our chats better for you. Please fill out the short survey at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys Thanks!

[ Sarabeth/Briones - 77 - 11:19:34 ]
Thanks for the chat Sandy and Pete and Fitzkids

[ PeteZell/ARC - 78 - 11:19:43 ]
RE: [Roger-FitzKidsEvansSchool] Are you gald they started this?
Yes. I have never done a web chat with kids before. This project has made that possible, as well as all of the great stories that have been written and shown on TV. This project has been a great way to teach people about science and the work in aeronautics we do here at NASA.

[ PeteZell/ARC - 80 - 11:20:11 ]
RE: [Sarabeth/Briones] Will the test be done Thursday or Friday?
We are planning to be done late Thursday night.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 81 - 11:20:47 ]
RE: [Sarabeth/Briones] Thanks for the chat Sandy and Pete and Fitzkids
Goodbye Sarabeth! Hope you can join us for another chat very soon!

[ PeteZell/ARC - 82 - 11:22:05 ]
Try putting them where the stabilizers are on a 747. If that works, then you can try some experiments moving them around. Some airplanes have the stabilizers in front of the wing!

[ PeteZell/ARC - 83 - 11:23:01 ]
RE: [Tony/Christina-FitzKidsEvansSchool] If the pieces of the gliders were thinner would it glide better?
Try it out. Experiment. That's whats really fun about building model airplanes.

[ Sandy/NASAChatHost - 85 - 11:27:05 ]
FitzKids: It's time to let Pete to go to his real job! Thank you very much for coming to the chat today! Good luck on your gliders! Please join us again for another chat. Be sure to check out Quest's chat schedule at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/common/events

[ PeteZell/ARC - 86 - 11:27:56 ]
RE: [Sandy/NASAChatHost] FitzKids: It's time to let Pete to go to his real job! Thank you very much for coming to the chat today! Good luck on your gliders! Please join us again for another chat. Be sure to check out Quest's chat schedule at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/common/events
Thanks for the chat everyone.

[ Rudy - 88 - 17:19:55 ]
MR. Zell thank you for taking the time to chat with me and my classmates. You gave us some good ideas.


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