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October 1, 1998
QuestChat with Leslie Ringo

Flight Simulation Engineer
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 0 - 10:42:56 ]
Hello to our early arriving Aerospace Team Online participants! The Aerospace Team Online chat with Leslie Ringo from NASA Ames Research Center will begin approximately at 11:00 a.m. today. Be sure you have read Leslie's autobiography at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/team/ringo.html before joining this chat. Once the chat begins, Leslie will attempt to answer as many of your questions as she can, but please be patient. In the event that we begin to receive too many questions during the chat, the chat may be "moderated." This means that only a few questions will be posted at a time, until Leslie can catch up with us. So we ask that you give Leslie time to answer your questions before submitting new ones. As a reminder, remember to enter "Your Handle" in the box provided, before posting questions to the chat room. Once you've done this, please let us know that you have logged on for today's chat.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 1 - 10:43:23 ]
At the conclusion of today's chat, you will have an opportunity to give us feedback about it. We encourage you to take a few minutes to share your thoughts with us by responding to our QuestChat Feedback survey at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys . Your responses, comments and suggestions will help us with future chats. We hope to hear from you!

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 4 - 10:50:29 ]
RE: [eric-bigmac/chs] hello? how's it goin'?
Good morning, Eric. We will begin our chat in about 10 minutes. Please stay with us!

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 6 - 10:57:08 ]
RE: [kelly-kelly/stanford] Hi Oran and Leslie, I'm just observing today.
Good morning, kelly. We'll begin our chat shortly.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 8 - 10:58:45 ]
RE: [MrsMock-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona] Hello Oran. I am here with Danielle. We are ready to chat.
Hello and welcome to today's Aerospace Team Online chat with Leslie Ringo from NASA Ames Research Center. The Vertical Motion Simulator at NASA Ames is the world's largest motion simulator. Leslie is one of the engineers responsible for ensuring this simulator responds exactly as a real aircraft would in the air. When assigned to a specific project, she may spend up to six months before a simulation working on the project. During a simulation, Leslie works in a laboratory with other aeronautical engineers and pilots. She, the engineers, and pilots help research engineers collect data that may be used in aircraft of the future or to improve exisiting aircraft technology. Some of the simulations Leslie has worked on include the Comanche helicopter, space shuttle, and future versions of fighter jet aircraft.

[ LeslieRingo/ARC - 10 - 11:01:03 ]
RE: [Oran/NASAChatHost] And now, here is Leslie Ringo to answer your questions.
Hi Everyone! Ask away. :)

[ LeslieRingo/ARC - 14 - 11:08:17 ]
Hi Everyone! So, what does a flight simulation engineer do for a living?

[ LeslieRingo/ARC - 15 - 11:08:57 ]
Let me know what you would like to know about my job. There are plenty of exciting things!

[ LeslieRingo/ARC - 16 - 11:11:01 ]
RE: [Danielle-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona] Dave and Amber have joined me. We all are in sixth grade. Why did you decide that you wanted to be an engineer at VMS?
When I was in school, I always knew I liked math and science compared to english. So, when I was in high school, I lived in San Diego and saw so many airshows that I thought this profession would be a "cool" job. It turns out that my job was better than anything I ever expected.

[ LeslieRingo/ARC - 17 - 11:12:03 ]
RE: [Danielle-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona] Dave and Amber have joined me. We all are in sixth grade. Why did you decide that you wanted to be an engineer at VMS?
In college, I was a summer student at the VMS. When I graduated from college, I was hired on permanently.

[ LeslieRingo/ARC - 20 - 11:14:36 ]
RE: [Danielle-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona] How can you make planes that have the wings pointing in the opposite direction and also have the stabilizers in front?
Planes that have the wings pointed in the opposite direction are very special planes. They are built with special building materials called "composites". In addition, just to fly an aircraft, they require very powerful on-board computers.

[ LeslieRingo/ARC - 22 - 11:17:32 ]
RE: [kelly-kelly/stanford] Leslie, how do the flight simulators you work on differ from ones available for entertainment, such as the flight simulators at Magic Edge. Can they turn 360 degrees for instance?
Flight simulators designed for entertainment will usually be modified to ensure that people have a fun time with them. I was talking to someone at the Magic Edge, and they said that they made their simulators much more movable than what you would expect from the real aircraft. My simulator is designed for research, so we keep our movement as close to the real thing. This is the main difference.

[ LeslieRingo/ARC - 23 - 11:19:05 ]
RE: [kelly-kelly/stanford] Leslie, how do the flight simulators you work on differ from ones available for entertainment, such as the flight simulators at Magic Edge. Can they turn 360 degrees for instance?
The VMS simulator is housed in a building that is 10 stories high. If I were to flight to the top of the simulator and then dive down, it is a 6 story drop. Our simulator does not do 360 degree rotations.

[ LeslieRingo/ARC - 24 - 11:21:47 ]
RE: [Danielle-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona] How can you make flight simulators seem like you are in a real plane?
We make our flight simulator feel like the real thing by several tools. One is the actual computer math model of the aircraft that was delveloped from actual flight test data or wind tunnel data. To make it very realistic to pilots, we have added motion. We also have a "cab" which is a representation of the cockpit in the real airplane. Once you add the computer graphic of the world outside of the windows and sound for engines and wind, you then have a very realistic simulation.

[ LeslieRingo/ARC - 26 - 11:24:02 ]
RE: [Danielle-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona] Do you use computers to do your engineering?
We use several computers. First there is the computer that computes how the aircraft should fly. Then there is a computer that draws all of our displays. This includes the "out-the-window" view, and our cockpit data displays. Then we also use computers to generate our sound. We don't use recordings, we even have a computer to simulate sounds. These are just some of the many computers we use.

[ LeslieRingo/ARC - 28 - 11:25:21 ]
RE: [Danielle-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona] Do you use computers to do your engineering?
When I use a computer, my job is to verify the aircraft being simulated flies like the real thing. So, I do quite a bit of programming.

[ LeslieRingo/ARC - 29 - 11:26:22 ]
RE: [Danielle-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona] Is it true that every tile on the space shuttle different?
Sorry, I don't know about that.

[ LeslieRingo/ARC - 32 - 11:31:47 ]
RE: [Amber-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona] Do things get hectic around there?
Sometimes they do. Usually I have a couple of months to prepare for a simulation, then we will spend about a month in the simulation lab running our simulation. Usually those last couple of weeks right before a simulation is about to start, it gets very busy as researchers will always come in with last minute items to be completed. On the simulation that I am currently working on, I am at that stage... last minute details keep coming in from everywhere! But, that's what makes this job fun... you are always kept on your toes.

[ LeslieRingo/ARC - 35 - 11:37:28 ]
RE: [Nick-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona] How do you train at zero gravity force?
Well, the only simulation that I know that would do that is the Space Shuttle simulation. The Space Shuttle has several simulators to more realistically simulate each phase of a Space Shuttle Mission. In Houston, Texas, they have several simulators that do the take off and "weightless" zero-gravity forces. My simulator only does the last portion of a Shuttle flight, the landing and rollout phase.

[ LeslieRingo/ARC - 36 - 11:39:56 ]
RE: [Nick-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona] How do you train at zero gravity force?
I am not a complete expert, but I do know that have 2 simulations to get the zero-gravity training. One is where the astronauts are put into there space suits and submerged into this huge swimming pool. The other "weightless" environment is on an airplane called the "Vomit Comet". It is a KC-135 that flies in a parabola flight profile that the astronauts can be weightless for about a minute.

[ LeslieRingo/ARC - 37 - 11:42:41 ]
RE: [Alexis-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona] How does it feel to work with large equipment?
When I first starting working at the VMS, the large simulator seemed really intimadating. Questions ran through my mind such as "I have to learn all about that!" Because I learned about the simulator one piece at a time, it made it easier to learn about everything instead of being overwhelmed.

[ LeslieRingo/ARC - 39 - 11:45:36 ]
RE: [Danielle-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona] Some fourth graders are here with me. Caleb asks, what was it like to stand behind the STA when it droped?
When the STA dropped, I felt like I was almost floating. Since I was standing, I did not have a seat belt to keep me pinned in one spot. That "floating" feeling only lasted for about a second. Then I just held on for a bumpy ride all the way down.

[ LeslieRingo/ARC - 41 - 11:49:45 ]
RE: [Danielle-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona] Now Danny is here with us, Is an airplane wing the same as a shuttle wing?
Hi Danny - Interesting question. A shuttle wing is like some airplane wings. Have you ever seen a picture of the Concorde? That is the supersonic plane that flies from New York to Paris. It has a wing similar to the space shuttle. But, most airplane wings are usually not like the Space Shuttle's because they are designed for a different purpose.

[ LeslieRingo/ARC - 43 - 11:51:06 ]
RE: [Dave-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona] how do you wire all of the computers on board?
I don't know. That is a good question to ask an Electral Engineer.

[ LeslieRingo/ARC - 46 - 11:56:32 ]
RE: [Danielle-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona] How would I get a job like yours? Caleb asks
To get my job, I went to college and got a degree in Aeronautical engineering. There are other degrees that you could get instead of what I did. We have people working here with Physics degrees, Mechanical Engineering Degrees, Computer Science Degrees, Electrical Engineering. We even have Computer Artists.

[ LeslieRingo/ARC - 47 - 11:57:45 ]
RE: [Danielle-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona] Where is Moffet Field?
Moffett Field is located almost half way between San Francisco and San Jose California. The closest cities are Mountain View and Sunnyvale.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 50 - 12:03:55 ]
At the conclusion of today's chat, we hope you let us know what you thought about it. Please use our online feedback at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys We hope to hear from you!

[ LeslieRingo/ARC - 53 - 12:05:49 ]
RE: [MissFerryman-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona] What High School courses would you recommend for students interested in following your career?
Good high school courses would be to take Math and Science for 4 years. Also, Computer Classes are really beneficial these days. If someone were to want a technical job, these are good starting classes. But, without a doubt, my English and Communication classes were also extremely important. I have noticed that you could have all the ideas in the world, but if you don't know how to share or express them correctly, those ideas really won't go far.

[ LeslieRingo/ARC - 55 - 12:07:28 ]
RE: [Danielle-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona] Caleb says that his mother went to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and took the zoology courses. She teaches Science at our school.
Cal Poly was an awesome school to attend. I know it is one of the best for Engineering, Architecture and several other areas.

[ LeslieRingo/ARC - 57 - 12:09:12 ]
RE: [Dave-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona] Do you have lots of programs stored on disks?
I don't personally have programs stored on disks at my desk, but we do keep all our previous simulations stored away in a central library. Some are on CD's and some are on tape (the old way of storing large amounts of data.)

[ LeslieRingo/ARC - 58 - 12:09:28 ]
RE: [MrsMock-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona] My students have to go to lunch now. They have really enjoyed chatting with you. Thank you very much.
Thanks for all the questions!

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 59 - 12:10:26 ]
RE: [MrsMock-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona] My students have to go to lunch now. They have really enjoyed chatting with you. Thank you very much.
Mrs. Mock , thank you very much for joining us today. remeber to share your thought about today's chat with us at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys. Please join us again!

[ LeslieRingo/ARC - 62 - 12:12:16 ]
RE: [MrsMock-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona] Dave was really surprised that you use tape reels. "That's the WAY old way of doing it", he says.
Yes, I agree. NASA is 40 years old, there are plenty of things considered "old" to be found around here.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 63 - 12:13:20 ]
Thank you to everyone for joining us today for our chat with Leslie Ringo from NASA Ames Research Center! A VERY special thanks ot Leslie for joining us today and sharing her time and expertise with us.

[ MrsMock-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona - 64 - 12:14:38 ]
Thanks again. It was great!!


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