October 26, 2000
QuestChat with George Tucker
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA
Thu Oct 26 13:42:36 2000
[ Susan/NASAChatHost - 3 - 09:01:09
Welcome to the chat with Research pilot George Tucker! Please read his profile
prior to asking questions.
[ Susan/NASAChatHost - 4 - 09:02:39
During the chat please read other peoples questions to see if they ask
a question you were planning to ask. and read George's answers to see
if they give you an idea for a new question!
[ Susan/NASAChatHost - 5 - 09:06:14
After the chat please take a minute to fill out the feedback survey at
http://quest/activities/chats/feedback.html Now George is here and we
are ready for your questions
[ George - 8 - 09:08:17 ]
George how much of your time do you spend in the cockpit?
The cockpit time varies a lot with the number of ongoing projects. Normally
I spend 4-5 hours a week actually in the air.
[ George - 10 - 09:10:36 ]
How does the rest of the week go?
The remainder of the time is spent working on the engineering end of the
projects at my desk or in the simulator.
[ Susan/NASAChatHost - 11 - 09:11:14
What it is it like to fly the simulator?
[ George - 12 - 09:13:50 ]
There are several simulators at Ames. Some have very large motion bases
that allow the cockpit that you are sitting in to move around quite a
bit. Other are "fixed-base" and do not move. One usually spends a hour
in the seat evaluating whatever it is that is the subject of the sim and
then you are either replaced by another pilot or your go back in for another
hour. Some sims are very tedious, others are really exciting!
[ George - 14 - 09:15:41 ]
RE: [Jake] Do you fly in simulators?
Jake, Yes, I do. A lot of work is done in simulators to prove some of
the basic ideas before you take them to flight.
[ Susan/NASAChatHost - 15 - 09:16:39
Hi Jake, Thanks for joining our chat today!
[ Jake - 17 - 09:18:22 ]
Your Welcome Sorry I'm a little late.
[ Susan/NASAChatHost - 19 - 09:19:52
Welcome Gabrielle! Good question!
[ George - 20 - 09:20:35 ]
What was the most exciting simulation you worked on?
The most exciting thing that I've seen in the simulator here at Ames was
a model of the XV-15 tilt rotor aircraft which had been modified to be
a fighter-like aircraft. We slimmed it down and gave it bigger engines.
It was incredibly maneuverable and could easily take on any fixed wing
fighter. But like many futuristic things that you get involved with, the
idea will sit on the shelf for a while before someone turns into reality.
[ Susan/NASAChatHost - 22 - 09:22:46
Hi nikki! How's the weather where you are?
[ George - 24 - 09:23:38 ]
RE: [gabrielle] Have you ever been
scared or afraid on a test flight?
Generally flights are not scary at all. Sometimes however they do get
exciting when unexpected things happen. The most exciting for me was when
a part of a rotor blade came off in flight which caused both of the pilot
to wonder whether we were going to land normally or use the ejection set
to exit in flight. Made for a pretty exciting day!
[ Susan/NASAChatHost - 25 - 09:23:44
Hi Bradley! What's you're favorite airplane
[ George - 27 - 09:25:20 ]
RE: [nikki] How many different kinds
of planes have you tested?
Nikki, It's a bit hard to come up with a number. It's not something that
I think of often, but just guessing I would say that I have flown 50-60
different kinds of aircraft with half of those actually being aircraft
undergoing some kind of test.
[ George - 30 - 09:27:14 ]
RE: [Jake] What was you favorite
aircraft to fly?
Jake, Actually my most favorite aircraft is probably one of the least
exciting, that being the OH-6, an egg-shaped helicopter that was introduced
more than 30 years ago. It's very maneuverable and is just plain fun to
fly any day!
[ George - 33 - 09:29:24 ]
RE: [kenny] How did you feel on your
first plane ride?
Kenny, My first plane ride in a plane as a passenger was really exciting.
It was a commercial airliner and I was traveling by myself. The whole
experience from taxi out to taxi in was a tremendous collection of special
[ Susan/NASAChatHost - 34 - 09:29:43
Welcome Kenny Michael and Sydney!
[ Susan/NASAChatHost - 36 - 09:31:08
[ George - 38 - 09:33:41 ]
RE: [michael] What is the speed of
your fastest plane?
Michael, The fastest aircraft that I have been in was an F-4 during the
Viet Nam war. I had met an F-4 fighter pilot on the same aircraft that
took us "in-country" after I had been flying helicopters there for half
a year or so we got in touch and he invited me to go on one of his flights
in the back seat. En route to the operating area he pushed us up past
Mach 1 or the speed of sound. 'Not very impressive from inside the aircraft,
but it makes quite a boom when you're on the ground!
[ George - 40 - 09:35:01 ]
RE: [sydney] How long [time wise]
is the longest flight you have you ever been on?
Sydney, The longest flights are on our airborne observatory which can
be as long as 7-8 hours
[ George - 42 - 09:36:28 ]
RE: [katherine] What is the highest
altitude you have been on a flight?
Katherine, The night astronomy flights that we used to do in the Kuiper
Observatory C-141 went as high as 50,000 ft which is about as high as
you want to go without being in a pressure suit like the astronauts wear.
[ George - 44 - 09:37:50 ]
RE: [joseph] Have you ever had to
parachute or eject from a plane?
Joseph, No, I have never had to either jump or eject. Either are exciting,
I'm sure but you come home without the aircraft which is a real waste!
[ joseph - 45 - 09:38:49 ]
We are 4th graders from Rural Hall School. It's fun to write questions
[ George - 46 - 09:40:09 ]
RE: [johnny] When you are testing
a new plane do you make-up a new saftey checklist?
Johnny, Very good question! You most certainly make up a whole series
of checklists, some just for operating the aircraft and some for handling
emergencies that can be foreseen. Safety is always your number one consideration,
not only because you don't want to get injured, but also because you don't
want to damage the aircraft when it could be prevented.
[ Susan/NASAChatHost - 48 - 09:42:14
Thanks for coming today rural hall! I hope you'll check the schedule and
[ George - 49 - 09:42:27 ]
RE: [danielle] How much fuel does
a test plane use?
Danielle, Aircraft vary widely in the amount of fuel they use. The Kuiper
Airborne Observatory carried enough fuel for about nine hours of flight,
the X-14 which we used to fly at NASA Ames had about enough fuel for 10
minutes before you needed to be on approach to land!
[ George - 52 - 09:44:37 ]
RE: [sydney] What is the length of
the longest plane you have flown?
Sydney, I may have misread your earlier question about length or the aircraft.
Our biggest aircraft here at Ames was about 80 ft long--a bit of a guess
without looking it up!
[ George - 53 - 09:46:18 ]
RE: [joseph] We are 4th graders from
Rural Hall School. It's fun to write questions to you.
Joseph, It's fun for me, too! I've never tried this before! What city
is your school in?
[ sydney - 54 - 09:47:18 ]
No, my teacher misread my question, so she let me ask it again. Thanks!
[ George - 55 - 09:48:23 ]
RE: [Jake] What was your job in Vietnam
as a pilot?
Jake, I was a Marine Corps helicopter pilot in Viet Nam. My helicopter
was used to haul and resupply troops and to provide Medical Evacuation
of those who were injured. It was a very interesting job, but one not
to be repeated if we can avoid it!
[ Susan/NASAChatHost - 56 - 09:48:29
I wonder if any of you would like to be pilots when you grow up.
[ George - 59 - 09:49:32 ]
RE: [nikki] The weather here is sunny
and warmer than usual. It is 25 degrees Celsius with a few cirrus clouds.
We would love to go a plane ride!
Nikiki, So would I it's always a lot more fun to fly an airplane than
[ Jake - 60 - 09:52:53 ]
Yes I would like to be a pilot someday in fact to help me occomplish this
I joined Cival Air Patrol
[ George - 61 - 09:52:55 ]
George How did you land the vehicle when the rotor came off?
Susan, The whole rotor did not come off, just a piece of the blade toward
the center. We heard it "pop" from inside the aircraft and immediately
picked up a very high vibration level. Both pilots were thinking that
it was the tail of the aircraft that had snapped in some way. The aircraft
was still flying o.k. but we wanted it on the ground just as soon as we
could get it there!
[ Susan/NASAChatHost - 64 - 09:55:58
I meant the list of questions I wanted to ask George after I read his
biography. One question is does he help design experiments?
[ johnny - 63 - 09:55:57 ]
Thank you for what you said about my question .I also wonder what did
you mean by that it was on your list to?
[ George - 65 - 09:56:27 ]
RE: [devon] What special clothing
do you wear to fly?
Devon, Unlike airline pilot and general aviation pilots we always wear
full length flight suits made out of a material that does not burn. We
always wear gloves, and instead of headsets or earpieces, we wear full
helmets which protect our hearing from the high noise levels and our heads
in case of an accident. It's not very fashionable, but every piece has
a specific purpose and part to play!
[ George - 66 - 09:57:26 ]
RE: [joseph] Rural Hall Elementary
School is in Rural Hall, North Carolina, just 2 miles from Winston-Salem,
Joseph, Thank you. I didn't realize we were chatting all of the way across
the country. Pretty neat!!
[ Susan/NASAChatHost - 67 - 09:59:45
Wow this chat was really fun! Thanks kids! I hope your dreams come true!
Please remember the survey at http://quest.nasa.gov/activities/chats/feedback.html
[ George - 68 - 09:59:58 ]
RE: [danielle] Thirteen students
and one teacher want to learn to fly. We are: Sydney, Devon, Danielle,
Teneya, Ryan, Bradley, Nikki, Courtney, Kenny, Brittney, Michael, Katherine,
Cierra, and Mrs. McD.
Danielle, I hope you all get to. The country is facing a very serious
shortage of pilots these days. Keep it in mind and I'm sure will find
a way to fly that will exceed greatest expectations! By the time you get
there we may be flying to other planets--think high!!
[ George - 72 - 10:02:26 ]
Jake good luck in the Civil Air Patrol, that sounds cool!
Jake, The Civil Air Patrol is a very valuable arm of our country's search
and rescue capability. Keep at it!
[ George - 75 - 10:05:13 ]
RE: [Jake] What stuff do I need to
know to become a pilot?
Jake, Actually you have to know a lot to be a good pilot, but most of
it is stuff that could be considered common sense and comes from your
personal experiences. You definitely need to know numbers and be able
to work with then well and quickly in you head. How high, how fast and
when am I going to get there are always in your head--along with a lot
of other things!
[ George - 76 - 10:07:46 ]
RE: [joseph] Thank you so much for
taking the time to "chat" with us today. It means so much to our students
and gives us the chance to emphasize the importance of reading, math,
and science in future opportunities.
Joseph, This has been great fun for me, too! NASA Ames Research Center
is located just south of San Francisco--If any of you come out this way
for vacation, please stop by and say "Hi"!
[ George - 78 - 10:09:11 ]
George, thanks for you wonderful answers! I hope you will come back
for another chat soon!
Susan, The questions have been really great! Let me know when you would
like to do it again!
[ George - 79 - 10:09:58 ]
RE: [Jake] Thank you very much for
chatting with me you answered some valuable questions for me!
Jake, It was my pleasure. Have a great day!
[ George - 81 - 10:12:15 ]
RE: [Jake] You to.
Jake, Thank you, I will!