October 6, 1998
QuestChat with Frank Quinto
Low-Turbulence Pressure Tunnel
NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA
- 1 - 09:40:11 ]
Hello to our early arriving ADTO/TGIR participants! Today's chat with Frank
Quinto from NASA Langley Research Center will begin approximately 20 minutes.
Be sure you have read Frank's autobiography at
http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/team/quinto.html before joining this
chat. Once the chat begins, Frank will attempt to answer as many of your
questions as he 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 Frank
can catch up with us. So we ask that you give Frank 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
- 2 - 09:40:43 ]
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
Your responses, comments and suggestions will help us with future chats.
We hope to hear from you!
- 6 - 10:09:53 ]
My 5th and 6th graders just got here. They are ready to chat.
- 8 - 10:10:39 ]
Hello and welcome to today's TGIR/ADTO chat with Frank Quinto from NASA
Langley Research Center. When asked what he likes most about his career,
Frank explains that he enjoys being able to "work with tomorrow's planes
today." Currently, Frank coordinates equipment and personnel for every
test in the 14-by 22-foot Subsonic Tunnel at NASA Langley Research Center.
He is also helping with the development of future airplanes like the Joint
Strike Fighter and the Supersonic Transport, X-33, and X-34, which will
fly sometime after the year 2000. However, much of Frank's experience
has also involved testing various types of airplanes, such as supersonic
transports, missiles, aerospace planes, exhaust stacks and parachutes.
- 9 - 10:11:37 ]
And now, here is Frank Quinto to answer your questions.
- 10 - 10:11:50 ]
RE: [Sarabeth/Briones] How doe you avoid turbulence
in a wind tunnel?
We try to redure turbulence in the wind tunnel by placing a number of
screens some distance ahead of the test section. These screens are very
similar to the screens on the house window or door.
- 13 - 10:15:19 ]
You mentioned Reynolds numbers in your journal: when it rains it pours,
referencing the necessity to scale or adjust the air flowing around a
"shrunken" model to accurately simulate the flow of "normal" air around
a full size airfoil. This takes you said high pressure and the use of
cryogenics. Can you expound upon the science involved necessiting this
use of increased pressure or crogenic fuel. I assume this somehow involves
the universal gas law?
The equations for Reynolds number involves the property of the gas, density
and viscosity. To increase Reynolds number, we need to increase the value
of density. To do this we can either use pressure or a cryogenic gas or
a combination of both.
- 14 - 10:16:10 ]
RE: [Sarabeth/Briones] Do you think window
screen would work in a small wind tunnel with a fan?
You could probably use the screens sold at hardware stores.
- 16 - 10:19:27 ]
Hello Oran and Frank. Our first question is, What is like to be a "Facility
A Facility Manger is in charge of a test facility. He coordinates people
and equipment for all the test that are done in the facility, such as
a wind tunnel. Most of the time, it involves a lot of phone calls, e-mail,
- 17 - 10:21:24 ]
RE: [FrankQuinto/LaRC] A Facility Manger is in charge of
a test facility. He coordinates people and equipment for all the test
that are done in the facility, such as a wind tunnel. Most of the time,
it involves a lot of phone calls, e-mail, and paperwork.
In addition, I think it is a fun job because I get to work with a lot
of different aeronautical test items from future X-planes to simple wings.
- 20 - 10:24:37 ]
Frank, what directed you to choose Virginia Tech versus another university
for your engineering degree? Did you ever think about the Air Force Academy?
I lived in Norfolk, VA and the closest aerospace engineering university
was Virginia Tech. In addition, I got to work at NASA Langley when I was
in high school and a lot the people I met said that Virginia Tech was
an excellent university. GO HOKIES!!!!
- 21 - 10:25:20 ]
As a reminder, at the conclusion of today's chat, please let us know what
you thought of today's chat by using our online feedback forms at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys.
- 23 - 10:26:28 ]
Are you a pilot?
No, I am not a pilot. When I was at Virginia Tech, I did the classroom
part of becoming a pilot. I just did not get the chance to go flying!!!
- 24 - 10:28:11 ]
What was it like working with Nasa Langley Research Center in High School?
Working a NASA Langley in high school was like a high school basketball
player working at the Chicago Bull's gym with Michael Jordan.
- 30 - 10:35:37 ]
RE: [AlByers-AlByers/VirginiaTech] Frank I've
read the X-33 has no wings, just vertical and angled fins for flight stability.
Lift during landing is generated by the shape of the body . What did your
wind tunnel test show for the X-33, was it as expected?
We encountered no surprises when the X-33 was tested for landing performance
in our wind tunnel. Some of the data we got from the test was suppose
to go into a flight simulation package.
- 32 - 10:38:12 ]
Do you want to find life on other planets?
Sure, I want to find life in another planet. I would not mind if NASA
sent me to go look for it. Actually, there are computerized probes that
will be sent to Mars in the near future to look for life.
- 33 - 10:39:56 ]
Will you be testing the Wright Flyer? If so what will you do?
There are no current plans that I know of to test the Wright Flyer at
NASA Langley. A model of the Wright Flyer is being test or has been tested
at a wind tunnel at NASA Ames.
- 36 - 10:44:53 ]
RE: [Al-AlByers/VirginiaTech] Awesome, so are
you saying Frank that you used the data gathered from wind tunnel tests
to aid pilots in learning how to "virtually" fly the X-33 in a computer
simulator? How often is your data used this way for other type of aircraft?
There are many test of futuristic airplane and aerospace vehicles in wind
tunnels for flight simulation. It is a lot cheaper to get the data from
wind tunnels and stick in a virtual reality simulator than to build a
full scale flying vehicle.
- 40 - 10:48:59 ]
When you have ideas planes do you make models or blueprints?
We first build a mathematic model and see how well it works through a
computer simulation. If it does well, it then goes to be design as a "computer
blueprints" using a CAD system. The model is then built and then tested
in a wind tunnels. If everything goes well, it will then become a full
size airplane. All this make take several years.
- 41 - 10:50:02 ]
I am in 4th grade. What is your favorite plane?
I do not have a particular favorite airplane, but I do like the military
- 42 - 10:51:04 ]
What kind of airplanes do you test?
We test all kinds of airplanes. Every airplane must takeoff and land,
so it must be tested at low speeds.
- 45 - 10:54:03 ]
Have you had problems testing planes?
We encounter some problems when we test models. We try to resolve any
problems with the test. We also try to solve any problems that the "life
size" airplane encounters. If our wind tunnel cannot solve it, we can
always go to other wind tunnels.
- 47 - 10:55:12 ]
How long have you worked at NASA?
I have worked at NASA Langley for a little over 18 years.
- 50 - 10:57:04 ]
Do you like testing the airplanes? What do you like best?
I think it is fun to test airplanes. What we test in our wind tunnels
today, I will probably see flying in 5 to 10 years from now. So, I get
to see the future pass by my wind tunnels.
- 55 - 11:01:52 ]
RE: [Al-AlByers/VirginiaTech] Frank, what do
you feel has been your biggest challenge to overcome as flight director
at Langley. Isn't that what engineering is all about, developing solutions
to problems with no "ready" answers?
Engineers are really problem or mystery solvers. In almost every wind
tunnel, you are trying to resolve a mystery. As always, when one questions
is answered more come up. You hope that your education and previous experience
can help you solve most of these mysteries. In addition, I am not working
alone here. There are a lot of smart people that are with me. If I can't
find the solution, I am sure one of my co-workers will find the solution.
- 57 - 11:04:37 ]
What is a wind tunnel?
A wind tunnel is where engineers can test models of airplanes. They are
tube with a test section, where the model is mounted for testing, and
a fan to create the wind.
- 59 - 11:06:02 ]
RE: [Al-AlByers/VirginiaTech] Frank, thank
you for your time and informative answers. I too know have to go get ready
for class. Go HOKIES! I work with Jeff Seaton and Chelly Canright out
of Langley (education) as a Graduate Student Research fellow..your right
it's an awesome place to work! Thanks again.
- 54 - 10:59:32 ]
Thank you Frank, my 4th graders have to go now. We will look up the answers
on the archive.
- 56 - 11:02:04 ]
Mrs. Mock, I'm assuming the chat will begin in just a few minutes. You
can read an archive of today's chat with Frank Quinto at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/chats/ 10-6-98fq.html.
- 61 - 11:08:46 ]
Thank you to everyone for joining us for today's chat with Frank Quinto
from NASA Langley Research Center! A special thanks to Frank for sharing
his time and expertise with us online today.
- 62 - 11:09:30 ]
We once again invite you to share your thoughts with us about today's
chat. Please use our online chat feedback forms at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys.
- 63 - 11:11:22 ]
Be sure to check the Aerospace Team Online chat schedule page at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/chats for upcoming chats
with aeronautics experts. Also check our schedule of events page at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/common/events
for upcoming chats with other NASA experts.