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November 9, 1998
QuestChat with Gloria Yamauchi

Aerospace Engineer
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 5 - 10:38:04 ]
Hello to our early arriving Aerospace Team Online chat participants! Today's Aerospace Team Online chat with Gloria Yamauchi from NASA Ames Rsearch Center will begin at 11:00 a.m., Pacific Standard Time. Be sure you have read Gloria's autobiography at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/team/yamauchi.html before joining this chat.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 6 - 10:39:53 ]
Once the chat begins, Gloria will attempt to answer as many of your questions as she can, but please be patient. The chat may be "moderated" if Gloria falls behind with our questions. This means that only a few questions will be posted to the chat room at a time. Don't worry if your questions do not appear on your screen immediately. They will be posted as Gloria answers those ahead of you.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 7 - 10:40:37 ]
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 - 8 - 10:41:33 ]
At the conclusion of today's chat, we ask that you take a few minutes to let us know what you thought about it. For your convenience, you may use our online feedback forms at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys. We look forward to hearing from you!

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 9 - 10:54:37 ]
Hello and welcome to today's Aerospace Team Online chat with Gloria Yamauchi from NASA Ames Research Center! Gloria conducts research in rotor aerodynamics and acoustics. The objectives of her work are to understand the flow environment of rotor blades which, in turn, help her understand why rotors perform the way they do and why they make so much noise. To study the rotor wake, she sometimes runs large computer programs which simulate the air flow around the blades. She also participates in wind tunnel and flight tests where the rotor loads and noise are measured. By studying computational results and experimental measurements, she tries to d etermine what is happening in the flow field and whether the rotor noise can be reduced and performance improved through design changes or operational changes.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 10 - 10:54:56 ]
And now, here is Gloria Yamauchi to answer your questions.

[ GloriaYamauchi/ARC - 14 - 10:59:16 ]
RE: [Dane] Why is it important to reduce the amount of noise the rotors make?
The nice thing about helicopters is that they can be used for all sorts of things. But if they are too noisy, the public will not accept them. Helicopters are often used in cities and other crowded areas, so what we want is a low-noise helicopter.

[ GloriaYamauchi/ARC - 15 - 11:03:02 ]
RE: [Dane] You talked about working on tilt rotors. How are tilt rotor craft used in the real world? What are their advantages and disadvantages?
Tilt rotors can take off and land like a helicopter and also fly like an airplane. Tilt rotors are currently being manufactured for the Navy; their designation is the V-22 Osprey.Tilt rotors don't need runways since they can land like a helicopter. We are hoping that tilt rotors will become a common mode of commercial transportation in a few years. They will be a perfect vehicle to transport people short distances (like from San Francisco to Los Angeles).

[ GloriaYamauchi/ARC - 19 - 11:07:39 ]
RE: [DebandDane] Hello! We are so glad you agreed to chat with us. Unfortunately, we will not be able to be present during the chat at the scheduled time, but we hope you will be able to answer our questions. First, can you tell us why the rotors on a helicopeter make so much noise?
The wop-wop sound you often hear when a helicopter flies overhead is mainly caused by the rotor blades interacting or hitting part of its own wake. A regular airplane wing will generate a wake (contrails) that trail straight back from the wing. Because the rotor blade is rotating, the wake is like a helix and the blades intersect the helix under certain operating conditions (like when the helicopter is descending for a landing).

[ GloriaYamauchi/ARC - 20 - 11:10:34 ]
RE: [Dane] What kind of materials are used to construct the rotors? Have you ever seen one break?
These days rotor blades are made of composite materials. Fortunately, I do not yet have first-hand experience in seeing a blade break. However, we conduct a lot of wind tunnel tests here at Ames and once in a great while, something will break. We accept this risk as part of research and of course, we always learn a great deal from the failures.

[ GloriaYamauchi/ARC - 21 - 11:13:55 ]
RE: [Deb] Is any of your research related to helicopter safety?
I guess all the research we do ultimately has an impact on safety. Rotorcraft are much more complex than airplanes and so we are always thinking of how to conduct our research in a safe manner. This includes working closely with our NASA helicopter pilots to get their feedback on the "real" life operation of a helicopter.

[ GloriaYamauchi/ARC - 23 - 11:17:03 ]
RE: [Dane] How are tilt rotor craft different than fixed wing aircraft that can take off vertically?
Tilt rotors can fly helicopter-like conditions, that is, they can hover and fly at low speeds. A VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aircraft such as a Harrier isn't really meant to fly low speeds. Also, tilt rotors can carry many more passengers.

[ GloriaYamauchi/ARC - 30 - 11:26:16 ]
RE: [Deb] I appreciated comments in your autobiography about your wish you had had a mentor in high school. Many students are overwhelmed and confused by the number of career choices open to them. What sort of qualities do you think students should seek in a mentor?
This is a good question. I would seek out a person who enjoys his/her work and is patient and a good listener. A mentor doesn't have all the answers, but a mentor should be able to give you ideas to follow up on. A good mentor will also be willing to share his/her personal as well as professional experiences.

[ GloriaYamauchi/ARC - 32 - 11:27:19 ]
RE: [Dane] What is the largest helicopter that has ever been built?
Hmmm ... I'm not sure but I believe the Russians have built a VERY large helicopter.

[ DaneandDeb - 26 - 11:17:21 ]
Thank you so much for your time and for sharing. We look forward to checking out this chat in the archives.

[ GloriaYamauchi/ARC - 28 - 11:21:58 ]
RE: [Yaitza] Hi. I wanted to know more about the wake the rotors generate and what kind of calculations you use to measure it.
The research community has made great strides in measuring rotor wakes. In a recent experiment I was involved in, we first visualised the helix-like wake by injecting smoke in the wind tunnel upstream of the rotor. We illuminate the smoke using a powerful laser and then we record what we see on video. From the video, we can later look at the images and figure out the geometry of the wake. If we want to measure velocities in the wkae itself, one technique we use is called Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV). Using PIV, we can determine the velocity of the individual smoke particles in the wake. There are other techniques as well.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 34 - 11:33:32 ]
We'd like to remind you to use our online feedback forms at the conclusion of today's chat. Please share your thoughts with us at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys. Thanks!

[ GloriaYamauchi/ARC - 35 - 11:33:41 ]
RE: [Yaitza] How do the rotors and the force of the wind impact a pilot's ability to control the helicopter? what aspects of the helicopter design counteract the effects and or balance it?
As with airplane pilots, I'm sure a helicopter pilot prefers calm and steady air. There are several rules of thumb that a helicopter pilot must keep in mind to avoid potentially dangerous rotor conditions and these rules change somewhat depending on the configuration of the helicopter (two-bladed, 3-bladed, no tail rotor (NOTAR), tail rotor). I wish I were a pilot so I could give you some first-hand experiences!

[ Yaitza-Yaitza - 41 - 11:43:57 ]
That's alright- because of what you do know, I learned something about PIVs, rotors, and wind tunnels!

[ GloriaYamauchi/ARC - 39 - 11:42:26 ]
RE: [MrsMock] Hello Gloria. Martin wants to know if you think tilt rotors will carry passengers from place to place? Not replacing commercial jets.)
Tilt rotors can fill the short-haul (300 miles or so) commercial market. In fact, Bell Helicopters is planning on producing a commercial tilt rotor (I think it will carry 7-10 passengers). Airport congestion and building more runways is very expensive, so tilt rotors are an attractive solution.

[ GloriaYamauchi/ARC - 37 - 11:39:39 ]
RE: [MrsMock] Hello Oran, My computer students are currently completing language and math exercises. They will try to join the chat a little later. In the meantime, Amber would like to know why Gloria decided to become an Aerospace engineer. Did she ever take astronaut training?
Sometime during high school, I became interested in space (maybe I watched too much Star Trek?) and NASA. I thought it would be neat to become an astronaut. After I started working at Ames, I investigated the requirements for becoming an astronaut. The requirements for a Mission Specialist included an advanced degree (usually a PhD or MD) and a certain level of correctable vision. I discovered that my eyesight was probably not good enough. As the years went by, I sort of gave up the idea of being an astronaut. But I think it would still be fun to be involved on the research side of a space mission.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 45 - 11:48:58 ]
For those of you interested in learning about upcoming chats with Aerospace Team Online experts, visit the ADTO chat schedule page at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/chats.

[ GloriaYamauchi/ARC - 47 - 11:50:40 ]
RE: [MrsMock-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona] How many classes did it take to get to your position?
Well, I got hired with just a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering. However, I was encouraged to pursue a Master's degree and so I started taking classes shortly after I started work at Ames. I spent about 2 years taking classes for the MS (part-time). After the Masters, I did more experimental research and discovered that there is so much more to learn about aerodynamics and dynamics. So, I decided to take more classes and go for a PhD. I needed 6 years to finish the degree since I was still working full-time. For a research position in Aeronautics, NASA hires graduates with a BS, MS, or PhD in mechanical or aerospace engineering.

[ GloriaYamauchi/ARC - 48 - 11:52:24 ]
RE: [MrsMock-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona] Do you have any children?
I don't have any kids. Which is probably why my dog Hobbes is so spoiled! I think it would be nice to have a family.

[ GloriaYamauchi/ARC - 50 - 11:53:18 ]
RE: [MrsMock-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona] Is it hot or cold in space?
It is very cold in space.

[ GloriaYamauchi/ARC - 52 - 11:55:48 ]
RE: [Kimber] Did you ever meet Carl Sagan when you went to Cornell U.?
When I was a freshman, I attended a lecture by Prof. Sagan. He was a very good speaker and showed pictures of Jupiter and other planets (I think NASA had just sent out a probe - Voyager maybe?). I don't think Prof. Sagan taught a regular class while I was at CU.

[ GloriaYamauchi/ARC - 53 - 11:57:53 ]
RE: [Lauren] What is your favorite thing to do in your spare time?
I like to play golf (I'm not very good though), play basketball, go fishing, and read. I like sci-fi books and books about King Arthur.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 55 - 12:00:46 ]
As Gloria answers the final questions in today's chat, we'd like to thank everyone for joining us today!

[ GloriaYamauchi/ARC - 56 - 12:01:14 ]
RE: [Kimber-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona] Did you find any gold when you grew up?
Gold? Let's see, when I was little we used to go to Folsom Lake outside of Sacramento and I thought I found a lot of gold. But then I found out the glittering pieces I collected on the beach was just Fool's Gold.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 57 - 12:01:17 ]
Be sure to let us know what you thought about today's chat at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/qchat-surveys.

[ Yaitza-Yaitza - 58 - 12:01:59 ]
I have to go, thank you for your time!

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 59 - 12:02:12 ]
A very special thanks to Dr. Gloria Yamauchi from NASA Ames Research Center for chatting with us today, and sharing her time and expertise with us.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 60 - 12:02:52 ]
We invite you to join us for upcoming chats with NASA experts. Check our schedule of events page at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/common/events for more information about these chats.

[ Kimber-Mrs.Mock/MontessoriSchoolofCorona - 61 - 12:03:45 ]
Thank you Gloria for chatting with us. We learned a lot.

[ Oran/NASAChatHost - 62 - 12:05:54 ]
Thank you again to everyone for joining us for today's chat!


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