By Linda Bangert
August 19, 1999
I am the Level III Manager for the High Lift element of the High Speed Research (HSR) Program at NASA Langley Research Center in Virginia. Most of my involvement with this test has had to do with model procurement. As HSR winds down the budget gets cut, and the Boeing contract, which provides a lot of the test support, gets cut back so that the NASA people are having to fill in. That's why I am here at Ames.
To procure a model the most important thing is to understand what it is you want. That seems straightforward, but you really have to think about it and put it into words it is not. To write a statement of work that you can understand and that the contractor can bid on with minimal chance of misinterpretation is not trivial. My high school English skills pay off here. It's very important for an engineer to speak and write clearly so that other people understand what he is trying to do.
I almost never have all the information I need when I begin the procurement process. I have to take a best guess. If I know that more information is going to be forthcoming I have to write the statement of work so that it tells when the information will be available. If information comes up which changes the statement of work this will cost more money.
Part of what makes this test interesting is that the model has pieces that were built by four different model shops. This makes life really complicated. We have four sets of drawings, some that interface with others and some that don't interface with others. Some of the parts that are being tested here have been tested before and other parts are new. We need to be careful that we have sorted through the parts to make sure that we have all the parts we need and have left behind or put away the parts we don't need so no one gets confused. This model is very modular. It was built that way on purpose, but because of that it has got a lot of pieces.
Throughout this program the main fuselage and inboard wing have stayed the same, and we have added leading and trailing edge flaps, changed the tail, the canard, different outboard wing panels, and more.
Mina Cappuccio is the main focal here at NASA Ames Research Center. Normally there is a whole cadre of Boeing support people that look at the data, compare it with other tests, compare it with CFD predictions, and fine tooth comb it for accuracy to make sure all the corrections were applied accurately. Since they are not here I am trying to help. I am plotting up some of the data, and am working with some of the Boeing people who are still involved, but back at Seattle I've been phoning and emailing back and forth to make sure we understand the test plan.
I have enjoyed my visit to California. People here think it's hot long before we start complaining back east. I've enjoyed the cool weather, and I did a little sightseeing. This is the end of my second week, and I am going home tomorrow. I was ready to go home sooner because my three-year-old girl said, "Mommy, how many days until you come home?" on the phone the other day.