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[ Andrew/Ames - 7 - 10:01:24 ]
Hi Susan, are you there?

[ Susan/NASAChatHost - 9 - 10:02:39 ]
Good morning Andy.

[ Susan/NASAChatHost - 10 - 10:03:19 ]
Kids are you ready with some questions for Andy?

[ Susan/NASAChatHost - 12 - 10:04:18 ]
How is your work on the ERAST program coming?

[ Andrew/Ames - 14 - 10:05:32 ]
RE: [BW-B.W./CarlisleAlternativeSchool] Hello. I'm B.W. How are you?
Welcome BW

[ Andrew/Ames - 14 - 10:05:32 ]
We're just fine.

[ Andrew/Ames - 18 - 10:07:38 ]
RE: [BW-B.W./CarlisleAlternativeSchool] Yes. What type of computer tools do you work with, and do you know if they are available to the general public?
We generally work on unix machines, though we do use Macintoshes a lot. While our software is available to the public it is pretty hard to use, so it takes a lot of effort to learn.

[ Andrew/Ames - 20 - 10:08:45 ]
RE: [Mike-Deborah/YpsilantiCOPE] How do the designs of ERAST craft differ from the u-2 or commercial airliners?
They differ quite a bit because they are extremely high altitude, in fact much higher than the U2 - and there is no pilot.

[ Andrew/Ames - 22 - 10:09:29 ]
RE: [Mike-Deborah/YpsilantiCOPE] Do you actually draw the airplane designs first?
Yes we do. It is the easiest way to convey a lot of information.

[ Andrew/Ames - 25 - 10:11:14 ]
RE: [BW-B.W./CarlisleAlternativeSchool] What software do you use?
We use custom designed software in our branch. We have a 3D aircraft modeller, an aircraft performance code, a vortex lattice based aerodynamics code, a compressible flow code that we use a lot - and a lot of other aerodynamic prediction tools.

[ Andrew/Ames - 26 - 10:13:07 ]
RE: [Brenda-Deborah/YpsilantiCOPE] What are buoyant quad rotors used for?
This is a great question! This is the first thing I worked on when I got here. The short answer is they are not used for anything. The reasons are involved, but basically it cost too much and was not productive enough to be economical. On top of that there were some real structural problems - Piaseki's version broke up and killed the pilot.

[ Andrew/Ames - 27 - 10:15:05 ]
RE: [Mike-Deborah/YpsilantiCOPE] How is the ERAST controlled if there is no pilot?
We can them UAV - unpiloted air vehicles - that's because while there is no pilot inside, a remotely located pilot can take control. Although, most of the time the plane just flys by itself. You can think of it as a rider on a horse, the pilot tells the plane what to do and the plane figures out the details.

[ Mike-Deborah/YpsilantiCOPE - 28 - 10:15:21 ]
How much time altogehter have you spent in school?

[ Andrew/Ames - 29 - 10:17:11 ]
12 + 4.5 + 2 = 18.5 years... But I do a lot of reading and study on my own and have been studying these things for basically my whole life.

[ Andrew/Ames - 32 - 10:19:59 ]
RE: [BW-B.W./CarlisleAlternativeSchool] Is there a lot of drawing involved in the early stages of aircraft development, or are the drawings simply a way of getting the general idea across?
Both. In fact the common joke is that most designs start as sketches on the back of an envelope/napkin. While they start there we try to do a little better job and progress through various computer design packages to something both more presentable and accurate/useful.

[ Andrew/Ames - 33 - 10:21:55 ]
RE: [Deborah/YpsilantiCOPE] There is a lot of discussion about what kind of math kids in middle school and high school should study. What math skills and attitudes do you really use in your job?
Algebra is extremely important. All those word problems that you think are so bogus now are really the heart of what I do, it's just that I have to come up with my own word problems. Also a very good understanding of geometry is really important. Higher level math, like calculus is sometimes useful but I don't use it as much as some other specialties might.

[ Andrew/Ames - 36 - 10:24:38 ]
RE: [Brenda-Deborah/YpsilantiCOPE] What is the most expensive project you've ever worked on?
It depends on where you draw the line as far as who spent the money. My portion is usually a very small piece of larger programs. Right now ERAST spends around 12 million dollars a year, of which my piece is about $75,000. I have worked on other programs that were much larger, but again my piece is always very small.

[ Andrew/Ames - 37 - 10:26:48 ]
RE: [BW-B.W./CarlisleAlternativeSchool] What military aircraft have you worked on?
Nothing that is flying today. NASA does not build airplanes per se, but we do influence aircraft designs. If you have heard of the JAST program, which is a design for a vertical takeoff jet fighter. 3 of us here at Ames did the initial work on those designs that convinced the Navy that a STOVL design was a viable option.

[ Andrew/Ames - 39 - 10:29:00 ]
RE: [Deborah/YpsilantiCOPE] At what point do the concept designs get passed on to the other designers to build models?
The use of models has reduced over the years because of the cost and scheduling problems. Right now we tend to use computer models because they are much cheaper and easier to modify and we can do it right on our desktop. Usually, a program is really far along when an actual physical models is built and tested in a wind tunnel.

[ Andrew/Ames - 43 - 10:31:41 ]
RE: [BWMAC-B.W./CarlisleAlternativeSchool] What tools do you use to draw your ideas ( pencils, markers, paints, etc.)?
I actually don't use paper very often. If I write it on paper it gets lost in my office. If I generate it on the computer I can still find it. Besides, the computer is much more accurate and I think easier way to draw.

[ Andrew/Ames - 47 - 10:33:54 ]
RE: [Mike-Deborah/YpsilantiCOPE] How long does the entire design process usually take?
Well, my part is what we call conceptual design - and is very limited in detail. If you were to do a design from scratch all the way to being built it takes a least 10 years and many hundreds of people. My part take usually only last only 2 months per airplane. Actually, in that time I have probably designed several hundreds of airplanes, but only end up with one final product.

[ Andrew/Ames - 51 - 10:37:45 ]
RE: [BW-B.W./CarlisleAlternativeSchool] What software do you use to create your ideas on a computer?
Basically the first one I use is a program called CANVAS. It's a two-dimensional drawing package, it's not really a computer aided design package (CAD), but I find it a lot easier to use, and it's a lot better than napkins. The next one I tend to use is a in-house developed code call RAM (Rapid Aircraft Modeller). And this one is a three-dimensional solid modeller. This one's really neat because they model that comes out really looks like an airplane. We have actually put background pictures of the sky or the golden gate bridge behind the model and it looks like a real airplane flying around.

[ BW-B.W./CarlisleAlternativeSchool - 52 - 10:38:41 ]
Wow! That's pretty neat.

[ Susan/NASAChatHost - 53 - 10:39:45 ]
RE: [BW-B.W./CarlisleAlternativeSchool] Wow! That's pretty neat.
B.W you seem pretty interested in drawing, do you use the computer to draw?

[ Andrew/Ames - 54 - 10:39:56 ]
RE: [Deborah/YpsilantiCOPE] What percentage of initial concept designs make it to the final product stage? Or even to the physical model stage?
Surprisingly few. Obviously there are more models than actual airplanes, and I would guess probably 1 in 2000 actually are constructed. As far as airplanes go, so few are built today that if airplane that you worked on was built you would be VERY lucky. Most designers never see any of their designs built.

[ Andrew/Ames - 57 - 10:42:37 ]
RE: [Susan/NASAChatHost] Andy can you say some more about using physic, in you bio you said you use it every day?
The moderator wanted me to mention something about physics. Actually I forgot, I do use that an awful lot. It is such an integral part of my job that I don't even notice it anymore. but I use Newton's laws all the time. Much of the airplane design relies on calculation of forces and moments, and balancing of these things so that the aircraft flys the way you think it should.

[ Andrew/Ames - 60 - 10:45:15 ]
RE: [Deborah/YpsilantiCOPE] Does it get discouraging to know that your designs might never be built? What keeps you motivated?
Very good question. Believe me I have wrestled with this. Basically I see my job as not so much as providing a product, but getting the best deal for the American tax payer. It's sort of like if you don't know anything about car repair and then take you car to the shop, it's really easy to be ripped off. I feel that if the government is an informed consumer of engineering services then there is a much smaller chance that the tax payer will get a bad deal.

[ Susan/NASAChatHost - 61 - 10:45:23 ]
RE: [Brenda-Deborah/YpsilantiCOPE] Actually, isn't 1 in 2000 0.05%?
Thank you, lost a zero!

[ Andrew/Ames - 62 - 10:46:39 ]
RE: [Brenda-Deborah/YpsilantiCOPE] Actually, isn't 1 in 2000 0.05%?
Yup, it's 0.05%

[ Andrew/Ames - 65 - 10:48:41 ]
RE: [BW-B.W./CarlisleAlternativeSchool] The only art program we have ( if you can call it an art program at all) is MicroSoft Paint. I draw on paper most of the time because Paint isn't all to great to me.
Actually, I don't use a paint program since its just turning pixels on and off - and changing it is a pain. Drawing packages (like Canvas) are really nice because you can change the shape of things basically at will.

[ Deborah/YpsilantiCOPE - 67 - 10:48:50 ]
We need to log off now. Thank you very much.

[ Andrew/Ames - 68 - 10:51:16 ]
RE: [Susan/NASAChatHost] Andy do you get feedback as designs proceed?
Oh sure, yes. The design process is an iterative process. When we get a requirement we try to meet it as best we can, but usually there are some items in the requirement that really drive the design to unreasonable compromises. So then we have to negotiate with whomever developed the requirement to blunt the effect of those drivers. This is repeated several times until everyone is happy with the results.

[ Susan/NASAChatHost - 69 - 10:52:14 ]
RE: [Deborah/YpsilantiCOPE] We need to log off now. Thank you very much.
Bye, Thanks for the Great questions, see you soon!

[ Andrew/Ames - 70 - 10:54:28 ]
RE: [BWMAC-B.W./CarlisleAlternativeSchool] Is there any other job you would rather have?
Not really. However, there is a lot more compensation in the private industry, but you give up a lot for the money. There is typically less security, less freedom, and quite frankly they are not usually as nice places to work for. NASA actually asked me what I want to do this year, it's generally not that way in industry. I value the work satisfaction that I get here because there are often long hours and weekends spent at work and money just can't compensate you enough to do that.

[ Andrew/Ames - 72 - 10:56:03 ]
RE: [Brenda-Deborah/YpsilantiCOPE] Right on! That impresses me that you care so much about the taxpayers.
I owe the tax payers a lot. I grew up in very poor family, and was only able to make it through school because of federal aid. And this job has basically been a dream come true. I basically owe my life to the tax payers.

[ Susan/NASAChatHost - 74 - 10:58:52 ]
RE: [BW-B.W./CarlisleAlternativeSchool] I can't belive it's been an hour already!
Hope you enjoyed the chat and that you'll join us again!

[ Andrew/Ames - 76 - 11:00:01 ]
RE: [BW-B.W./CarlisleAlternativeSchool] What were your favorite projects to work on?
Pretty much anything with wings. Although in my spare time I do look at cars and boats. I build models, and just generally goof around with engineering stuff even on my off time. I liked working on the fighters a lot. But there is always the end use in the back of your mind, even though it is important to have a strong military for protection. In the end military projects are designed to kill people. I presently working on a civilian project, and that makes me feel a lot better. The ERAST project is designed to do atmospheric science and hopefully help us protect the world.

[ Susan/NASAChatHost - 77 - 11:01:10 ]
RE: [BW-B.W./CarlisleAlternativeSchool] When?
Go to http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/chats/#chatting for the schedule.

[ Andrew/Ames - 78 - 11:01:33 ]
Goodbye everybody, and thank you for all the great questions. I hope you enjoyed this hour as much as we have.

[ BW-B.W./CarlisleAlternativeSchool - 79 - 11:02:33 ]
Well, I think I've taken up enough of your time. My sister and I would like to think you both very much for answering our questions. Bye!

[ Susan/NASAChatHost - 80 - 11:02:34 ]
Thanks kids and thanks Andy, this has been a great chat! I learned a lot from Andy's great answers!

 
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