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October 5, 1999
QuestChat with Linda Bangert

Aerospace Technologist
NASA Langley Research Center, Langley, VA


[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 2 - 09:38:17 ]
Hello to our early arriving Aerospace Team Online participants. Today's chat with Linda Bangert will begin at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time. Be sure you have read Linda's profile http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/women/bios/lsb.html to prepare your questions.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 3 - 09:43:28 ]
Once the chat begins, Linda will attempt to answer your questions as quickly as she can. But PLEASE BE PATIENT. If Linda falls behind with our questions, the chat will be MODERATED. This means only a few questions will be posted to the chat room at a time.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 4 - 09:44:56 ]
DON'T WORRY if you don't see your questions appear on your screen immediately during moderation. We will post new questions as Linda answers those ahead of you.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 5 - 09:46:24 ]
At the conclusion of the chat, be sure to share your thoughts with us at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats. You may use our online surveys to submit feedback to us. We look forward to hearing from you!

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 6 - 09:58:30 ]
Hello and welcome to today's chat with Aerospace Team Online chat with Linda Bangert from NASA Langley Research Center!

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 7 - 09:59:01 ]
Linda tests airplane models in wind tunnels and simulates jet engine exhaust using high pressure air. The results of these tests help her understand how propulsion may affect certain aircraft designs. In addition to supporting testing for military aircraft, Linda also tests designs for future supersonic passenger airlines during take off and landing speeds (about 180 miles per hour).

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 8 - 09:59:24 ]
And now, here is Linda Bangert to answer your questions.

[ BarryP/UofWaterloo - 11 - 09:59:37 ]
Good afternoon. I'm here alone representing a six-person group of engineering students at the University of Waterloo, in Ontario.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 13 - 10:01:15 ]
RE: [MariaLaura] I am studing physics, just like you, and I am wondering to change my major to a aerospace engineering.
It's a tough choice. What part of physics interests you? Even if it's electrical or something other than aerodynamics, you can still work on airplanes. The problem with the aerospace industry is it's very cyclical. Right now there are big cutbacks, compared to the boom in the 1980s.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 15 - 10:03:43 ]
RE: [Bruce] David asks, "How long did it take you to learn how to fly an airplane and how old were you when you start?"
It took me a long time (7 years) because I kept running out of money! If you have the funds set aside, you could easily do it in 4-8 months, assuming good weather for lessons. You can solo a glider at 14 and get a glider license at 15. For powered planes, you can solo at 16 and get a license at 17. I was 18 or so when I started taking lessons, because that's when the money became available, but since my Dad was a pilot, he let me handle the controls some when I was younger.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 17 - 10:04:28 ]
RE: [Bruce] Anne asks, "Do you also test helicopters?"
I, personally, don't but other people I work with do. Rotating wing aerodynamics is very specialized.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 21 - 10:07:33 ]
RE: [BarryP/UofWaterloo] Hi, Linda. My questions will be related to gender equity, and I thought of no better people to ask than female practicing engineers. Do you feel girls are being encouraged enough to pursue careers in technolgy? If not, what do you think could be done?
I don't feel I can really speak for what's happening with girls because my daughter is only 3. I participate with a the Society of Women Engineers who host a Girl Scout patch day for Engineering, and that's because there is NO GS badge for engineering. There used to be one called "Putting Things Together" (is THAT wishy-washy or what?) that was the closest thing they had, but that has been discontinued. Maybe educators or parents of older girls can better answer this one.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 25 - 10:09:34 ]
RE: [Bruce] Betsy asks, "How hard is it (on a scale of 1-10) to do what you do?
Gee, that's a tough one, because this is what I studied, so for me, it's not as tough as something I HAVEN'T studied. I admire people who can easily do things I can't, but I can do things other people can't. I guess there really isn't an answer for your question.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 26 - 10:10:44 ]
RE: [Sarah] Do you find that men are usually reluctant to accept you theories or ideas only because you are a female?
Some, but it's hard to tell unless you know the person's biases. It could be they think my idea is just not a good one.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 28 - 10:12:52 ]
RE: [Tristan] I am an architecture graduate but I keep dreaming of designing aircraft and feel that aviation is the way I really want to go. Do you have any advice for this artsy wannabe aircraft designer?!
Consider a masters program in aerospace engineering. Structures is a hot field, especially using non-traditional materials. If you don't want to go back to school, join the Experimental Aircraft Association and build your own airplane. Then you'll know if you really want to do it.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 30 - 10:14:46 ]
RE: [Yael] What should I do or participate in to help me get a job in aerospace engineering?
How old are you? What are your interests? Many fields pertain to aerospace, not just what people consider "traditional" - control systems, electronics, structures, propulsion, chemistry of fuels, etc. Any clubs or enrichment programs that follow your interests would be good.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 35 - 10:16:49 ]
RE: [Jon] What is the most interesting fact that you know about Mars?
That conspiracy theorists think the government is covering up the existence of Martian life. ;-) Sorry, my interest in space is at the hobby level - my job is in aeronautics.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 36 - 10:18:15 ]
RE: [Racheal/Ryan] Are you religious? If so, does being a scientist interfere with your beliefs?
I was raised in a Christian church, and feel that was a good experience. I am not currently a member of a church. Science doesn't have to interfere with faith.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 41 - 10:21:26 ]
RE: [BarryP/UofWaterloo] Do you see an all-female engineering/technology schoool in the furture? What impact do you think this will have on the current gender equity issues? Do you think it is a good idea? Why or why not?
Right now I don't think there are enough women to populate such a school. Since the world is made of up both men and women, I don't really understand why an educational environment that pretends otherwise is desirable. Would we want schools that were only for a single race or nationality? I don't think so, because the world isn't that way.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 42 - 10:24:05 ]
RE: [Lindsay] Will you be involved somehow with the colonizing of Mars?
There is talk of NASA doing a "Mars Flyer" for the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers first flight. It would be an airplane sent to Mars in a capsule which would then unfold and fly around in the Mars atmosphere. Is that a prelude to a colony? Maybe, but there's a lot more to be done in between. I probably won't see a Mars colony in my working lifetime.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 43 - 10:25:16 ]
RE: [Bruce] David asks,"If you could change any part of your work what would it be?"
Congress would stabilize NASA's budget with plenty of funding for aeronautics, and they stop threatening to shut down the government every October first.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 44 - 10:26:19 ]
RE: [Mimi] Do you know if NASA has any volunteer opportunities or interships available for High School Students?
Yes, there are summer internships for high school students as well as the Virginia Governor's School. You'd have to talk to your guidance counselor or check the web page of the nearest NASA center to you.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 45 - 10:27:45 ]
RE: [MsLalosh] The loss of the Mars Climate Orbiter taught us all a lesson about communication between teams and the need for standards. What had you hoped to learn from the Orbiter had it been successful?
Yes! And when your teacher takes off points on your homework because you didn't show your units conversion, now you know why it's important! I work in aeronautics, so I don't really know what the mission objectives were for the lost probe.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 50 - 10:31:18 ]
RE: [Ashley/Rachel] How many different math and science courses did you have to take to become an Aerospace Technologist?
In high school, four years of math (2-algebra, geometry, and trigonometry/advanced high school math). In college - 3 semesters of calculus, differential equations, partial differential equations, 2 semesters of physics, statics, dynamics, 2 semesters of aerodynamics, 3 of airplane design, 2 of aircraft structures, 1 of materials, thermodynamics, heat transfer, aerothermodynamics, and some I can't recall right now. Don't let the titles fool you though, it all built on each other so it wasn't as it was overwhelming.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 51 - 10:32:24 ]
RE: [Bruce] David asks,"On a scale from one to ten how fun is your job?"
Depends on the day. My best days are 10s, and my worst days are still maybe 5s, because there are jobs that I would dislike MUCH more.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 52 - 10:32:57 ]
RE: [Cassie/ruralhall] What parts of your job are difficult?
The parts I'm not as good at.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 53 - 10:34:32 ]
RE: [Tristan] Regarding your work on supersonic airliners, are you designing an engine that can change gear from low speed/high bypass to high speed/low bypass efficiency and back?
I'm not, but that is in work. It's called "dual cycle". Regular turbomachinery for low speed and supersonic-combustion ram jet for much higher speeds. Right now, it's too heavy to "buy it's way on" to a passenger transport.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 54 - 10:36:39 ]
RE: [Erin/Dustin] If someone is interested in the field, what is the best way to get involved? What classes and people should be used/contacted to help you into the field?
If you're still in high school, take all the math and science classes you can get. See the previous answer about clubs or other groups to further follow your interests. Talk to engineers. Read web pages of the professional societies to find out what student programs they have.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 59 - 10:38:08 ]
RE: [Yael] Is NASA afraid that what happened to the Mars Climate Orbiter might happen when they send people to Mars, only with a different problem?
A long as there are people, there will be mistakes because we're not perfect. Mistakes are made on the highway that kill people every minute. I'm sure there will be some changes to have double-checks so such a problem doesn't happen again.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 60 - 10:39:58 ]
RE: [Taylor/ruralhall] Have you succeeded at creating the passenger plane that breaks the sound barrier?
I and the USA haven't, but the French/British Concorde and the Russian TU-144 have, and it was with 1960s technology. The problem is that they're not economically viable and noisy.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 61 - 10:40:06 ]
As a reminder, please share your thoughts about today's chat with us at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats. Select the "Surveys/Feedback" option to use our online forms. We hope to hear from you!

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 62 - 10:40:37 ]
RE: [Lindsay] What's more effective: shuttle missions or satellite missions?
What are you trying to accomplish? I'm afraid it's a little like asking if a hammer or a screwdriver is more effective.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 63 - 10:43:08 ]
RE: [Jodi/ruralhall] Is it hard to change from work to being at home? (we think your job sounds very complicated)
There is some transition that has to be dealt with. I often recall what all has to be done today in the shower. My daughter and I discuss what to have for dinner and what we have to do in the evening on the ride home. Sometimes they spill into each other, like when she's sick and I have to leave work in the middle of the day or there's a pesky work problem that keeps me awake. But I try to keep each in their place as much as possible.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 68 - 10:45:06 ]
RE: [Jimmy] Did you ever want to be an astronaut?
When I was 9 and men first stepped on the moon, you bet I did! At that time I was told by all the grownups that EVERYONE would be working in space by the time I was ready to go to work. Since that hasn't exactly come to pass, there's nothing I'd particularly want to do in space except vacation.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 69 - 10:46:13 ]
RE: [Yael] I am ten. I want to desgin planes and such.
Cool! Contact the Experimental Aircraft Association for their young builder's programs and take all the math and science classes you can. Best of luck!

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 70 - 10:47:51 ]
RE: [Reese] About how many hours are in your typical work day?
24. How many in yours? ;-) I get up between 6 and 6:30 in the morning and go to bed at about 10pm. Sleeping in on weekends means until 7:00 or 7:30am because my daughter is up. I get lucky on weekends if she wants to take a nap, because then I can too.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 71 - 10:51:25 ]
RE: [Mimi] Do you know of any volunteer opportunities or internships at NASA for highschool students like me who are interested in aeronautics?
Yes. NASA has summer internship programs for high school students. Virginia also has the Governors School. Check the web page of the NASA center nearest you for more information, or check with your guidance counselor.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 72 - 10:52:53 ]
RE: [BarryP/UofWaterloo] Do you think a program such as Systems Design Engineering (a multi-disiplinary branch of engineering)is of particular interest to NASA? Or should one seek a more specialized degree?
Yes, very much of interest. It's the integration of systems where problems can occur (e.g. the Mars probe problem). Also, it's applicable to other fields besides aerospace if you get caught in one of the "down" cycles like we're seeing now.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 78 - 10:57:50 ]
Once again, let us know your thoughts about today's chat at quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 79 - 10:57:54 ]
RE: [Yael] Has your daughter made getting your job done slower?
Yes, because there are times I have to be home with her, like when she's sick. She was sick a lot the first year because she was in daycare around a lot of other kids, and therefore exposed to lots of stuff. I see the slowdown more at home. I have to be home to watch her if my husband wants to mow grass because she shouldn't be outside with him while he's mowing. When she was younger, I had to schedule shopping and cleaning around her naps. Now she wants me to do a puzzle or read with her instead of doing chores. I remind myself that dishes won't disintegrate if they're left overnight in the sink.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 80 - 11:00:51 ]
RE: [Turner/ruralhall] What happens to the model planes in the wind tunnel? Are there several planes and each one is tested a different way?
Wind tunnels are used to discover the aerodynamic characteristics of airplanes (or buildings, bridges, cars, wheel chairs- anything that air blows over) at the model scale because it's cheaper and safer than testing at full scale. Different types of models are used to investigate different things - propulsion effects, structural bending under aerodynamic loads, etc. So different models of the same airplane would be tested in different tunnels to get the complete picture.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 81 - 11:01:26 ]
RE: [Tristan] Regarding your current work with supersonic airliners, are you working with an engine that can change gear from high to low bypass efficiency and back to cope with the different speed requirements?
I'm not personally, but "dual-cycle" engines are being worked in other parts of NASA.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 86 - 11:03:16 ]
RE: [BarryP/UofWaterloo] Does your job involve any computer programming? If so, how much?
Yes! In college my classmates and I were often mistaken for computer science majors because we were in the computer center constantly. Aerospace engineering is very computer-intensive. Someday computers may be able to do many of the things we now do in the wind tunnel, but they just aren't big enough or fast enough yet.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 87 - 11:03:53 ]
RE: [Justin/ruralhall] Have you ever been the pilot in a jet that broke the sound barrier?
No, but I'd love to!

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 88 - 11:07:26 ]
RE: [Racheal] What is your daily routine at your job?
I'm very lucky that I am on flex-time. This allows me to work my 8 hours a day anytime between 6am and 6pm. This allows me to work around my daughter's schedule when necessary. Also, my husband and I can trade off when she's sick so each of us doesn't miss so much work. First thing I check my calendar to verify what meetings I have that day, then clear my phonemail and e-mail. The day then varies wildly depending on what's on the schedule. If I'm testing in the wind tunnel, I'll be doing that all day. If not, I'll be planning for new funding, or for a test, or looking at data from a previous test, etc.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 89 - 11:08:09 ]
RE: [GATSkids] How long of a lunch break do you get?
Again, we're on flex time, so it can be as long or short as I want and still get 8 hours of work done.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 94 - 11:09:25 ]
RE: [Lindsay] If you could, would you rather study stars than be an aerospace engineer?
Hard to say. I made my choice back in school, and haven't regretted it. Astrophysics is a demanding and underfunded line of work just like aeronautics.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 95 - 11:11:55 ]
RE: [Erin/Dustin] Do you believe you are a role model to girls who want to go into a scientific field?
I don't know. Am I? This is the fourth or so chat I've done, and people seem to want to come talk to me about my job, so I guess so. It's nice to not have to be the first to do something, so to know someone is already doing it is comforting, I suppose.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 96 - 11:13:28 ]
RE: [Erin/Dustin] What is the newest piece of technology you have helped in designing?
Right now I'm working on "smart materials" applications. These are metal alloys that change shape when you heat or cool them, and remember the shapes they were when they were at the hot or cold temperature.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 97 - 11:14:53 ]
RE: [MsLalosh] How would the High Speed Supersonic Transport be used and how soon?
The big market for this is the trans-Pacific flights. Right now it takes about 14 hours to fly from Los Angeles to Tokyo. An SST would make it in 6 or so. As the Asian market recovers from their little downturn, I still think there is a good market there.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 103 - 11:16:32 ]
RE: [Sarah] Were other women interested in your job field at the same time that you became involved?
Not many. I was only the third woman to graduate from the University of Missouri - Rolla with a degree in Aerospace Engineering. I was the only woman in my graduating class of about 27 getting AeroE degrees.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 104 - 11:17:57 ]
RE: [Erin/Dustin] Who are your superiors/advisors on the job? Are you in charge of anyone?
I am in a branch of about 15 people, with a Branch Head as supervisor. I have led "teams" of engineers and technicians when I do wind tunnel tests, but I don't "supervise" anyone (that is do their performance ratings, etc.).

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 105 - 11:19:08 ]
RE: [Tristan] Linda, is there a field in aeronautics you think will soon become the next "gee-whiz area" to be involved with?
Control systems. As more "smart" actuators are used, they all have to be controlled. Also un-piloted vehicles are getting big, and they REALLY need good control systems.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 106 - 11:21:17 ]
RE: [David/Tiffany] What are your parents like? Did they always agree with what you wanted to do for a career?
My Dad was a pilot, and an electrical "engineer" for a TV station (what we would now call a technician rather than an engineer with a degree). He was thrilled that I wanted to do something technical, but I think was a little disappointed that it didn't have to do with electrical. My Mom was a little mystified by the whole thing. She died when I was 19 and still in college, so I never got to find out what she thought of my job.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 107 - 11:24:10 ]
RE: [BarryP/UofWaterloo] It is sad to see a lot of human potential not being used in the engineering/technology sector. Could you give us your opinion on why women might be choosing alternative careers?
Are they? With being a new mom the last several years, I haven't had time to read surveys of what fields women are choosing. If I had to guess, I'll bet health care is a big draw since as the population ages, more care will be demanded. Bio-medical Engineering is a neat field, too, for those who can't decide if they want to be doctors or engineers. Anyway, I'm afraid I don't have the information to answer your question.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 113 - 11:26:44 ]
RE: [Yael] Do different engineering jobs relate to each other?
You bet! Everything in engineering is a compromise, so having all the engineering departments represented is very important. There is a funny cartoon out there about what an airplane looks like if the structures, or propulsion, or aerodynamicists, etc. designed it by themselves.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 114 - 11:27:47 ]
RE: [Ashley/Rachel] What type of books do you like to read?
Right now mysteries, especially set in the middle ages. For many years though, it was science fiction/fantasy.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 115 - 11:29:00 ]
RE: [Ryan] What is your biggest accomplishment in your life?
Not letting the bad things that eventually happen to everyone in one form or another kill my enjoyment of life.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 116 - 11:32:54 ]
RE: [Yael] What was your most important acomplishment that you have made in your career?
A program in which I was required to integrate inputs from an air fame company, 3 engine companies, and 4 model companies into a wind tunnel model with a first-of-its kind propulsion simulation system in a wind tunnel test. The simulation system didn't work, and the program was eventually killed, but the experience was wonderful.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 117 - 11:35:33 ]
RE: [Lindsay] Has aircraft technology improved much over the past decade?
Civil transports - not really. The companies are too afraid to mess with what they know works. Military - more so, but since "peace broke out" there isn't the big, bad enemy to push the technology, so things have slowed down.

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 118 - 11:37:18 ]
RE: [Yael] I am so sorry to hear about your mother. Did she help you or incourage you to become something great?
She worked very hard to make sure I had opportunities. She worked full-time, so I knew that was possible.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 119 - 11:37:44 ]
This concludes today's chat with Linda Bangert from NASA Langley Research. We would like to thank Linda for joining us online and sharing her time and personal experiences with us today, and for her very thoughtful responses to our questions. Additional thanks to Linda for chatting with us for an additional 30 minutes today!

[ LindaBangert/LaRC - 120 - 11:39:22 ]
Thanks, Oran! I'll have to go ice my fingers, now. ;-)

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 121 - 11:39:46 ]
Thank you to all our chatters for your outstanding questions. We hope you enjoyed today's chat with Linda Bangert, and will be able to join us for our next High Speed Civil Transport chat with Bruce Gilbaugh on Thursday, October 14 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time. Read Bruce's profile at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/team/gilbaugh.html to prepare for this chat.

[ BarryP/UofWaterloo-BarryP/UofWaterloo - 122 - 11:40:02 ]
Thank you, Linda. :)

 
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