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April 28, 1999
QuestChat with Phillip Luan

Mechanical Engineer
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA



[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 3 - 08:29:14 ]
Hello to our early arriving chat participants! Today's Aerospace Team Online/Wright Flyer Online chat with Phillip Luan from NASA Ames Research Center will begin at 9:00 a.m., Pacific Daylight Time. Be sure you have read Phillip's profile at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/wright/team/luan.html to prepare your questions.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 4 - 08:29:42 ]
Once the chat begins, Phillip will attempt to answer as many of your questions as quickly as he can, but PLEASE be patient. Today's chat may be MODERATED to help Phillip keep up with our questions. This means that only a few questions would be posted to the chat room at a time. Don't worry if your questions do not appear on your screen immediately during moderation. They will be held in our chat queue and posted as Phillip answers those ahead of you.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 5 - 08:29:54 ]
Remember to enter "Your Handle" in the box provided before posting messages to the chat room. Once you've done this, please let us know that you have logged on for today's chat.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 6 - 08:30:13 ]
At the conclusion of today's chat, we ask that you take a few minutes to let us know what you thought about it. For your convenience, you may use our online feedback forms at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys. We look forward to hearing from you!

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 7 - 08:58:39 ]
Hello and welcome to today's Aerospace Team/Wright Flyer Online chat with Phillip Luan from NASA Ames Research Center. Balances used in wind tunnel tests tell engineers how the force of the wind affects the model. Phillip is responsible for making sure that balances used for these tests are extremely accurate. He also helps determine how electrical signals received during the tests are related to the accuracy of the balances.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 8 - 08:58:53 ]
And now, here is Phillip Luan to answer your questions.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 10 - 09:02:05 ]
Hello everyone!

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 11 - 09:04:03 ]
Phil, while we're waiting for questions, could you talk about how you decided on a career with NASA?

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 13 - 09:09:38 ]
RE: [PhillipLuan/ARC] Well I've only started my career, but I've always wanted to get involved in aerospace, just like a lot of kids.
Your profile is listed under the Wright Flyer Online section. What role did you play with the Wright Flyer?

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 15 - 09:14:09 ]
RE: [PhillipLuan/ARC] I worked along with my coworkers to calibrate the balance that was used in the Wright Flyer test. We choose a balance that would provide the most accurate test results. When we calibrate a balance we relate applied force to electrical output. A balance has can tell you how much lift, drag, pitch, yaw and roll a model experiences in the wind tunnel.
Thanks, Phil. What advice would you give to young people interested in pursuing a career such as yours?

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 17 - 09:18:16 ]
RE: [Oran/NASAChatHost] Thanks, Phil. What advice would you give to young people interested in pursuing a career such as yours?
Kids who want to become an engineer should never stop dreaming. Its easy to learn all the math and physics involved in becoming an engineer, but its those dreams and ideas that launch planes and space shuttles.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 18 - 09:20:11 ]
RE: [PhillipLuan/ARC] Kids who want to become an engineer should never stop dreaming. Its easy to learn all the math and physics involved in becoming an engineer, but its those dreams and ideas that launch planes and space shuttles.
Phil, thanks so much for that great advice.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 22 - 09:25:15 ]
RE: [Helen-FranklinWI] Hello Phillip! I'd like to know more about the balances that you used on the Wright Flyer plane. Where were they placed? What changes did engineers need to make as a result of the data?
A balance looks like a metal cylinder. Internally it has 6 strain gaged elements that relate applied force to electrical output. The balance was attached to the underside of the Wright Flyer plane.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 24 - 09:26:18 ]
RE: [Jeffrey-FranklinWI] How many balances were needed to determine the amount of lift, drag, pitch, yaw and roll?
Just one Jeffrey, a single balance has 6 internal elements each to tell you how much lift, drag...

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 25 - 09:28:07 ]
RE: [Joe-FranklinWI] What other projects have you been involved in?
Joe, I am currently working on a machine that automatically calibrates balances. It uses motors and a control system to apply the calibration loads. Currently we have to manually apply weights to a balance to calibrate it.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 27 - 09:28:54 ]
RE: [Caroline-FranklinWI] How long have you been working at NASA Ames Research Center?
I graduated from college 18 months ago and have been working here since.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 28 - 09:30:21 ]
RE: [Zolton-FranklinWI] How does the balances of the Wright Flyer compare to modern aircraft?
Zolton, the balance we used for the Wright Flyer test was very similar to the one we used for a recent test of the Boeing 777. The Wright flyer plane experiences much smaller forces in flight than the B777, but because the Wright Flyer plane was a life sized model, the loads it generated was close to that of the much smaller B777 model.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 34 - 09:33:47 ]
RE: [Nancy-FranklinWI] What do you like to do during your spare time?
I like to play sports, hang out with my friends at night. A lot of my friends are also engineers so we share stories of work. I have friends who work at the electric company, bridge construction companies, and in the computer industry.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 36 - 09:35:58 ]
RE: [Esther-FranklinWI] How well did your college courses prepare you for your career?
Very much, Esther. I know as a kid in grade school everyone says "When am I ever going to use calculus?" But the classes you take in college give you the tools to attach tough real world problems. The better you know your math, physics, engineering, the more insight you have to solve a problem or to design a better machine.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 38 - 09:37:29 ]
RE: [Danny-FranklinWI] What do you like best/worst about your job?
The best part of my job is when I finish one of my projects and I can see the results. The worst part of my job is that sometimes you can get lost in a large organization like NASA.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 40 - 09:39:41 ]
RE: [Sam-FranklinWI] What are your goals for the future?
My goal is to learn as much about engineering and teamwork as I can. When I feel I am comfortable with my skills I want to work on research projects that will push technology.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 42 - 09:41:23 ]
RE: [Jill-FranklinWI] Do you find any differences between life in Taiwan and in the U.S.?
Yes! I recently went back to Taiwan for the first time in 10 years. It was so fun. In Taiwan stores are open until 12am and there is always something happening. But maybe because I was on Vacation!

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 45 - 09:43:10 ]
RE: [Paul-FranklinWI] Did you encounter any prejudices while growing up in the U.S.?
I did, I'm sure like most kids growing up. Being different is tough when you are small, but I think in the US now, its your determination and attitude that determine your future.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 47 - 09:44:50 ]
RE: [Sandy-FranklinWI] How fast does the wind blow in the 80' x 120' and 40' x 80' wind tunnels?
The inlet speed of air in the full scale is like 20-30 miles per hour. so because of the contraction ratio is something like 10 to 1, i think around 200-300 mph. But don't quote me.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 49 - 09:45:57 ]
RE: [Karyn-FranklinWI] I have an auntie and uncle in NC too! How often do you get to visit your family in North Carolina?
The last time I went back was New Years 98. Hopefully I'll get to go back and see some family and friends this summer.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 52 - 09:49:13 ]
RE: [Toby-FranklinWI] You said that when you feel more comfortable with your skills you'll want to work on research projects that will push technology. What sort of projects? technology?
I'm into robotics and control systems, but my dream is to work on a better transportation system, because the traffic is so bad in California. In college i worked on a super mileage vehicle.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 54 - 09:50:38 ]
RE: [Stuart-FranklinWI] Do you have any role models? heroes/heroines?
Yes, my mom. She works so hard and never gets tired.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 56 - 09:51:47 ]
RE: [Tim-FranklinWI] I enjoy playing tennis too. My favorite tennis player is Michael Chang. Who is yours?
I love playing tennis, I think Chang is a great player, but I don't keep up with pro's.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 57 - 09:52:34 ]
RE: [Tina-FranklinWI] Do you have any brothers and sisters? Where are they? What do they do?
Yes I have a brother and he is going to Graduate school in Computer science right now.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 60 - 09:55:15 ]
RE: [Annie-FranklinWI] I've heard that there is a flying car prototype. Do you think it's feasible in the near future?
I've also heard about that. Yes technology wise it's feasible, but I don't know if it will be cheap enough for people to want one. There are electric and hybrid cars out there right now, but because they are 30% more expensive than regular cars no one will buy them. So a flying car will at least be 100% more expensive.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 62 - 09:58:35 ]
RE: [Michael-FranklinWI] I read that the project you're working on now has been going on for 10 years already! How long did it take you to learn everything that they had already done? When do you think it will be completed?
I took about 6 months for me to feel comfortable around the project, but now I feel like I have valuable ideas to contribute. Actually we are presenting a paper at the international wind tunnel balance conference in London right now about the results of the project. There's still some things to do, but we're pretty much done now.

[ PhillipLuan/ARC - 63 - 10:01:36 ]
RE: [Peter-FranklinWI] What were some of your most wildest dreams as a child? Did you ever dream about becoming an astronaut?
I guess living in space. Sure I've dreamed about being an astronaut, but I don't think I would purse it now. Being an astronaut is a full time job, I think there is more things I could do in engineering, research and design. But I wouldn't mind being invited to go on a mission.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 64 - 10:01:46 ]
We will now be ending our chat with Phillip Luan. We would like to thank everyone for joining us today. Our very special thanks to Phillip for sharing his career experience and expertise with us.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 65 - 10:02:00 ]
We hope you will be able to join us for our next ADTO chat with Grant Palmer from NASA Ames Research Center. This chat is scheduled for Thursday, May 6, at 9:00 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 66 - 10:02:18 ]
Check the Aerospace Team Online chat schedule page at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/chats/#chatting.html to learn more about our upcoming ADTO/WFO chats. Also check our schedule of events page at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/common/events/ to learn about other upcoming chats with NASA experts.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 67 - 10:03:04 ]
Thanks again, Phillip! Great chat!!!

 
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