- 2 - 09:35:44 ]
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feedback form at the completion of the chat. http://quest.nasa.gov/activities/chats/feedback.html
[ Susan/NASAChatHost - 3 - 10:59:07
Hello! Andrew is here and ready to take your questions.
[ Andy - 4 - 10:59:43 ]
[ Andy - 8 - 11:02:55 ]
RE: [Huey] Hi Mr. Hahn. Are there any publicly
available tools for doing some of the design? I am interested in turning
one of my "napkin" ideas into a real design. How long will it take to
design a proof of concept design? I'm not interested in getting it optimized
at this point.
Hi Huey, because of the specific nature of the Marsplane, there aren't
any publicly available tools. Our tool is completely undocumented, so
it would require quite a bit of knowledge and effort to learn how to use,
even if we could give it away, which we can't.
[ Andy - 10 - 11:05:49 ]
RE: [MrThomassstudentBailey] What kind of education
did you have to become a conceptual airplane designer in college? and
Hi MrThomassstudentBailey, I went to high school at Orchard Park Central
in New York. I then got my Bachelor of Science (BS) in Aeronautical Engineering
at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Univ. at Daytona Beach, FL and my Masters
of Science in Aerospace Engineering at Stanford here in the Silicon Valley.
[ Andy - 16 - 11:09:57 ]
RE: [MrThomassstudentBailey] What career did you
want to pursue when you were younger? Did you always want to work with
That's reall interesting, I haven't really thought about it much. I guess
I always had an interest in vehicles that move. They could be submarines
or speed boats or cars or airplanes. Early on, I started modeling airplanes,
both plastic scale and control line flying models so I guess that's when
I decided I wanted to work on airplanes. I still model airplanes, but
I have also built free sailing model sailboats and have built working
[ Andy - 21 - 11:13:49 ]
RE: [Michelle] Hello Mr. Hahn. What do you consider
the benefits of working for NASA as opposed to a private company and vice
The best part of working for NASA is the freedom to pursue your interests.
While I still have to make sure that I work within my charter and sometimes
work on some things I'm not tooo interested in, for the most part I get
a lot of leeway in choosing what I work on and how to do it. Private companies
on the other hand are much more focussed to deliver a product that someone
has given them a legal contract to fulfill. For some people, that fits
their personality just fine, but it is not really for me.
[ Michelle - 29 - 11:21:13 ]
Thank you for your input. I'd never thought of that aspect of it...
[ Andy - 24 - 11:17:39 ]
RE: [Kenneth] I'm a 5th grader from Rural Hall
School. Our class has some questions. How big is the biggest plane you
I tend to design smaller planes. I used to design vertical takeoff supersonic
jet fighters, very high flying remotely piloted vehicles and several Naval
fighters/attack designs. I guess the biggest is one that I am working
on now which is a 150 passenger transport with the engines attached to
the top of the wing.
[ Susan/NASAChatHost - 15 - 11:09:38
Welcome Kenneth! and Rural School 5th Graders!
[ Andy - 27 - 11:19:44 ]
RE: [MrThomassstudentBailey] If not for your friend
do you would be at NASA?
Actually, my coming to NASA was almost accidental. One of my room mates
at Embry-Riddle got a summer job here at Ames and he asked if there was
a position for me too. They did have one and I have been here for almost
[ Andy - 31 - 11:21:31 ]
RE: [Michael] What are the most important parts
of the plane?
There really aren't any most important parts to an airplane. Airplanes
are so integrated that if you were to take almost any part off, it would
not fly too well.
[ Susan/NASAChatHost - 18 - 11:11:55
Good morning Michael, is it still morning where you are?
[ Michael - 25 - 11:18:37 ]
No, it is 2:10 pm here. We are in North Carolina.
[ Andy - 35 - 11:24:33 ]
RE: [Josh] How fast is the fastest plane you designed?
Well, one plane I did the aerodynamics for was actually a re-entry vehicle.
So it had to get up to 25 times the speed of sound to reach orbit. My
part in that design was to look at drag rise near the speed of sound.
It turns out that getting through the sound barrier is as hard as flying
25 times faster and if you can't get through Mach 1, you will not get
to Mach 25.
[ Susan/NASAChatHost - 20 - 11:13:26
Hi Josh! Do you like fast planes?
[ Josh - 32 - 11:21:41 ]
Yes, I like fast planes!
[ Andy - 39 - 11:27:29 ]
RE: [Huey] Do you work more on jet aircraft or
Up untill now, I have worked exclusively with fixed wing aircraft (propeller
and jet). This year, I was asked to look at modifying the V-22 Tiltrotor
with a Variable Diameter Rotor and estimate the performance improvement
we might expect. So, now I do rotorcraft as well (a little)
[ Susan/NASAChatHost - 36 - 11:25:27
Huey, you really seem interested in aircraft design, have you studied
[ Huey - 41 - 11:28:47 ]
Susan: Well, it's a childhood dream. I've taken EE instead am now working
as a software engineer. :) But, I'm thinking of going back to school for
an aero degree.
[ Susan/NASAChatHost - 42 - 11:28:47
Good luck with your dream Huey!
[ Huey - 49 - 11:34:14 ]
Susan: Thanks. I'm going to use my free time learning about aerodynamics
now. It's frustrating to have an idea and not have the knowledge to bring
it to fruition. I'm channeling that energy in a possitive way so I have
little doubt I'll suceed.
[ Andy - 43 - 11:28:54 ]
RE: [MrThomassstudentBailey] If you weren't in
your job now where would you be?
If I weren't in this job, it is hard to say where I'd be. This really
has been my dream job and I haven't been looking around to see what else
might fit me well.
[ Andy - 45 - 11:31:01 ]
RE: [Erica] What is your favorite design?
My favorite design is the Messeschmitt 163 rocket powered airplane. It
is a really interesting airplane that was really advanced for its time,
but also a total failure.
[ Andy - 48 - 11:33:52 ]
RE: [Huey] What are the steps that conceptual designers
go through from that sketch on the napkin to an optimized/production ready
It's funny that you mentioned the napkin. There are still successful designers
that do hand drawn sketches on what ever is nearby, but I don't use paper
much anymore. My branch commissioned a program called Rapid Aircraft Modeler
(RAM) and it is so fast and easy to use that I skip drawings altogether
and build 3 dimensional models first.
[ MrThomassstudentBailey - 50 - 11:37:12 ]
I would like to be a rocket but I am way too short so something to do
[ Andy - 51 - 11:39:01 ]
RE: [Laura] How long does it take to design a plane?
As long as three years?
designing a real airplane, like a Boeing 777, can take 10 years and many
thousands of designers, engineers, crafts people, and managers. There
really isn't any one man shop left. Airplanes have just gotten too complex
for that. What I do is called Conceptual Design which means that I do
enough calculation to give a customer a good idea of what it will look
like, how it will perform, and how much it should cost. There is a lot
of work that comes later in the Pre-design phase and the detail design
phase and the manufacturing design phase. Usually, I will spend about
6 months on a conceptual design, but that can go as low as 6 weeks, depending
on how accurate the customer wants the answer to be.
[ Susan/NASAChatHost - 38 - 11:27:07
Hi Laura, do you think you would like to design planes?
[ Laura - 52 - 11:39:53 ]
Yes, it sounds like fun! How would I learn how to do this?
[ Susan/NASAChatHost - 53 - 11:39:53
Laura, play with paper airplanes, gliders, study math and science, watch
birds! Then go to college and study engineering!
[ Andy - 56 - 11:41:09 ]
RE: [MrThomassstudentBailey] What does the future
hold in your job?
Unfortunately, airplane design is becoming less in demand as other technologies,
like computers and communications, become more in demand. I think that
there will always be some jobs available but they will become less common.
[ Andy - 57 - 11:42:47 ]
RE: [Brennan] Have you ever designed a plane that
I hope not. While the tools and methods I use are far from perfect, I
would hope that the airplane would at least fly. How well it flew would
be up for debate though.
[ Andy - 59 - 11:46:49 ]
RE: [Huey] Susan: Well, it's a childhood dream.
I've taken EE instead am now working as a software engineer. :) But, I'm
thinking of going back to school for an aero degree.
Huey, I saw your response to Susan, and I have to tell you that we mostly
go the other way. As the need for AeroEngineers diminishes, some move
into the software field because it is part of our job now and the rewards
are higher (pay wise). There is always the possibility of joining the
Experimental Aircraft Association to get your airplane design fix and
not have to change your job.
[ Andy - 66 - 11:53:14 ]
RE: [Michelle] Mr. Hahn, you indicated that you
have received your masters. How important is it to complete graduate work
in the field, and would you recommend doing so before or after attaining
a full-time position?
While a Bachelors gives you the foundation for most of the design problem,
the Masters really takes you up a level of sophistication. It allows you
to attack the really tough problems that sometimes crop up. It is not
necessary, but it is helpful periodically. I got my masters after being
out of school for about 14 years, was married with children, and had a
bad commute. I was also working nearly full time and graduating nearly
killed me. If I had any advice, I would say to go straight through and
stay near campus.
[ Andy - 69 - 11:56:59 ]
RE: [Trent] What is the coolest airplane you have
You know Trent, to me they are all pretty cool. Each one has something
special about it because the mission it needs to fulfill is unique. Some
are fast, some go into space, some fly very high but slow, some have rockets,
some hover....choosing one would be tough.
[ Andy - 72 - 12:00:50 ]
RE: [MrThomassstudentBailey] What could you do
to encourage women to get involved in NASA?
Personally, I have mentored 2 young women as interns. One found out that
this was not for her (which is a good thing to know), but the other did
like this sort of work, went to MIT and got her BS. I would encourage
anyone to try out the career of their interest before committing to the
long and expensive process of getting degrees or credentials. First and
foremost, you should love what you do and the best way to find out is
to try it out.