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July 20, 1999
QuestChat with Jim Barnes

Senior System Safety Engineer
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA


[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 4 - 10:49:04 ]
Hello to our early arriving chat participants. Today's chat with Jim Barnes will begin in about 10 minutes. Be sure you have read Jim's profile at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/wright/team/barnes.html to prepare your questions.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 5 - 10:49:23 ]
If Jim falls behind with our questions, today's chat may be MODERATED. This means only a few questions would appear in the chat room at a time. (DON'T WORRY if you don't see your questions automatically during moderation. We will post new questions every few minutes.)

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 6 - 10:50:29 ]
At the end of today's chat, please take a few minutes to share your thoughts with us. Click on http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats where you will find our online feedback forms. We look forward to hearing from you after the chat.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 8 - 11:02:25 ]
RE: [MichelleMock/CoronaCA-MichelleMock/CoronaCA] Good morning Oran and Jim!
Good morning, Michelle, and others, and welcome to today's Aerospace Team Online chat with Jim Barnes from NASA Ames Research Center! Jim is responsible for preparing different kinds of vehicles for wind tunnel tests. He must also make sure the tests are conducted safely, without damage to the test vehicles wind tunnels, or anyone in the test environment. Jim's role ensures data from these tests will be collected successfully. He has used his skills to offer suggestions about safety of the Wright Flyer.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 9 - 11:02:47 ]
And now, here is Jim Barnes to answer your questions.

[ JimBarnes/ARC - 15 - 11:08:32 ]
RE: [Michelle-MichelleMock/CoronaCA] Did the Wright Flyer give you any anxious moments during the testing in the wind tunnel?
Michelle; Thanks for your question. No the Wright Flyer didn't give us any really anxious moments during the test. I think the biggest concern was whether or not we would get good data because the Flyer is so big and flexible it moved around in little gusts of air in the wind tunnel.

[ JimBarnes/ARC - 16 - 11:10:37 ]
RE: [Cameron-CameronAndersen/ArapahoeHigh] I am currently a senior in High School. What kind of classes would you recommend taking in order to prepare myself for a possible career in aerospace?
Gosh preperation for an aerospace carreer takes lots of math and science but I have found that one important skill people need and often neglect is writing. You can have great ideas but you need to communicate them clearly in writing to really be successful.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 17 - 11:12:47 ]
RE: [JimBarnes/ARC] Gosh preperation for an aerospace carreer takes lots of math and science but I have found that one important skill people need and often neglect is writing. You can have great ideas but you need to communicate them clearly in writing to really be successful.
Jim, thanks so much for reinforcing the need for good communication skills, especially writing. I think this is a VERY important component, often overlooked, for success in technical careers.

[ JimBarnes/ARC - 18 - 11:13:03 ]
RE: [Michelle-MichelleMock/CoronaCA] How much of the wind tunnel was used for the Wright Flyer test and what were the wind speeds? Did the model of Orville fly in the test as well?
The Wright Flyer was tested in our 40x80 wind tunnel (meaning it is 40 ft high and 80 ft wide). The Flyer took up most of the width of the test section. We limited the wind speeds to 30 kts which is about 27 mph. It reacted just as we had anticipated.

[ JimBarnes/ARC - 22 - 11:16:40 ]
RE: [Stephanie-MichelleMock/CoronaCA] Do you mostly work with airplanes or do you test other types of vehicles (like cars)?
We test mostly aircraft, both fixed wing and rotor craft (helicopters) but occasionally we do test vehicles. Since I have been here we tested a semi-truck and trailor and we also tested some road signs to see how much wind they could stand befor blowing over. Amazingly they lasted until we had almost 50 mph of wind before falling over.

[ JimBarnes/ARC - 25 - 11:18:59 ]
RE: [Chris-MichelleMock/CoronaCA] Are wind tunnels used for testing landing (like on an aircraft carrier). If so, how do you do that in a small place like a wind tunnel?
Actually in the wind tunnel we can test an aircraft model for any landing approach whether on land or on a carrier. Since the model does not actually move and we artifically blow wind over it, the landing environment is not important.

[ JimBarnes/ARC - 28 - 11:22:21 ]
RE: [Chris-MichelleMock/CoronaCA] How long where you in the military and did you have a pilots license before entering?
I was in the US Navy for a little over 30 years. I started out as an enlisted technician but went to college and got my degree. Then became an officer and went to flight training. I was an Navay pilot for a little over 25 years. I did not have a pilots license before I started flying for the Navy but I did get my commercial pilots license later.

[ JimBarnes/ARC - 29 - 11:26:18 ]
RE: [Michelle-MichelleMock/CoronaCA] How is age fatigue of aircraft and road signs tested? Can you do anything like that using a wind tunnel? For example, the wings, rotors etc. of aircraft or the supports on road signs. Very large road signs have come down in windy passes and support fatigue was a factor. A 50 mph wind is not very fast when testing road signs. How do you anchor them?
The road signs we tested are the temporary kind you see workmen put along the side of the road. They are not tied down to anything and thats why they were tested. Doing fatigue tests is not the kind of testing we do in the wind tunnels because other, less expensive machines can do that. Of course we have to pay attention to the models we test to make sure the testing we have done over the years has not caused them to begin to fatigue to the point of failure. This is one of the main things I have to look out for so that something does not fail and go flying down the tunnel and cause damage.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 31 - 11:28:41 ]
While Jim answers our questions, we once again invite you to share your thoughts with us after today's chat. Our online surveys are available at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats.

[ JimBarnes/ARC - 34 - 11:34:00 ]
RE: [Chris-MichelleMock/CoronaCA] Do you test engines and what happens when foreign objects get in them during flight? If you are testing an engine, do you only have that part in the wind tunnel or do you have a whole plane? Do you usually work with real aircraft or models?
This quite a question. The answers are yes, bad things, both parts and sometimes the whole airplane, and both real aircraft and models. We usually refer to all our test vehicles as models even when they are full-sized aircraft so that may have mislead you a little. Some of our test vehicles have jet engines in them and sometimes we just test the engine alone (but not very often). You are right that we have to be very careful about things getting sucked into the engine intake. That is usually very damaging to the engine. We call such objects Foriegn Object Damage or FOD for short. Several years ago we had the Pratt & Wbitney Advanced Ducted Propulsion engine in our wind tunnel. It had an intake over 11 feet wide and we did have a FOD incident with it but fortunately there was very little damage.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 35 - 11:37:16 ]
We would just like to acknowledge Jim's efforts today, as this is his first chat with us. We're happy to have him make his "online debut" with us today.

[ JimBarnes/ARC - 36 - 11:37:46 ]
RE: [Stephanie-MichelleMock/CoronaCA] How big was the biggest aircraft you have tested in a wind tunnel and how small was the smallest model?
I think the biggest full-scale aircraft that I have seen tested in our large test section was a T-39. It is a small jet transport aircraft that carries about 7 people. The smallest was probably a 25% scale model of a DC-10 that was about 6 or 7 feet in wingspan.

[ JimBarnes/ARC - 38 - 11:43:34 ]
RE: [Chris-MichelleMock/CoronaCA] I have heard that engines are tested by shooting frozen turkeys into them. Is that true or was somebody joking?
I have heard that story too and I think it is just a joke or a story. Some years back, some of the big aircraft companys had a chicken accelerator that would shoot a bird into the windshields to see how much punishment they could take before breaking. Of course they put the chickes to sleep immediately before they shot them at the windshield. I think someone got the idea from that and thought it would be funny to tell a story about some one who was not too sharp using frozen chickes. Sounds like a tall tale to me!

[ JimBarnes/ARC - 40 - 11:46:49 ]
RE: [Stephanie-MichelleMock/CoronaCA] How big were the road signs you tested?
The signs were about 4 feet tall and were on flexible standards mounted on a three legged tripod similar to a camera mount

[ JimBarnes/ARC - 45 - 11:52:27 ]
RE: [Stephanie-MichelleMock/CoronaCA] Does your job let you travel? Do you have to go to lots of meetings?
My job does involve some travel depending on how much development is required for getting the test vechicle ready. I certainly do have to go to a lot of meetings. Since I work on a team and have another System Safety engineer working here with me, we can sometimes substitute for each other when it seems that we have to be in two places at the same time. Most of my meetings are here and I don't travel more than 3 or 4 times a year.

[ JimBarnes/ARC - 49 - 12:00:26 ]
RE: [Michelle-MichelleMock/CoronaCA] What advice do you have for *reluctant* students who dont really know what they want to be and are wasting time in high school?
I don't believe your time in high school is wasted. In fact it should be an enjoyable time for you. If you don't know what you want to do as a life time career, I would suggest that you look around at the activities that you really like or the things you dream about doing. With a little advice from your teachers, you can start to study those subjects that are basic to or aligned with the things you dream about doing. My main advice is two things. Try to have a carreer that excites you. Something that is fun, and full of satisfaction when you complete it. The other piece of adivce is that you really need to go to college. Yes I know there are plenty of folks around who do just fine without college and some even become very successful and famous. But most do not and the odds are very heavily in your favor if you finish college.

[ JimBarnes/ARC - 50 - 12:02:53 ]
RE: [Michelle-MichelleMock/CoronaCA] Do you recommend entering the military after high school if you have not made decisions about your future by then? Will the military take students whose school grades are not very good?
Entering the military right after high school is an option. There are many opportunities there. I did it because of my financial situation. I used it to help me get to college. Others can do the same but if I could have gone to college first, I would have.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 51 - 12:03:23 ]
RE: [Michelle-MichelleMock/CoronaCA] Thank you Oran! As always, it is a pleasure chatting with the experts at NASA Quest. Thank you very much, Jim, for your time. I find the wind tunnel fascinating and it makes a little more sense to me with each chat.
Our pleasure, Michelle!

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 52 - 12:03:51 ]
RE: [ChrisandStephanie-MichelleMock/CoronaCA] Thank you Jim and Oran. This was interesting and fun.
You're welcome. We're glad you enjoyed it and hope you're able to join us again. Have a great day!

[ JimBarnes/ARC - 53 - 12:04:09 ]
RE: [Michelle-MichelleMock/CoronaCA] Thank you Oran! As always, it is a pleasure chatting with the experts at NASA Quest. Thank you very much, Jim, for your time. I find the wind tunnel fascinating and it makes a little more sense to me with each chat.
Your welcome!

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 54 - 12:04:55 ]
This concludes today's Aerospace Team Online chat with Jim Barnes from NASA Ames Research Center. A very special thanks to Jim for his thoughtful responses and time spent discussing his career with us today.

[ JimBarnes/ARC - 55 - 12:05:16 ]
RE: [ChrisandStephanie-MichelleMock/CoronaCA] Thank you Jim and Oran. This was interesting and fun.
Thank you for the great questions. I hope to get better at this so I can keep up. See you again some time. Jim

 
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