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Aerospace Team ONLINE

UPDATE #50 - February 5, 1999

PART 1: Upcoming Chats
PART 2: Project News
PART 3: Calibrating the Wright Flyer Balance
PART 4: Subscribing & Unsubscribing: How to do it


QuestChats require pre-registration. Unless otherwise noted, registration
is at:  http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/chats

Plan ahead for February Black History Chats
February is Black History Month. To celebrate, NASA Quest will host a
series of chats with African American scientists and engineers who
contribute their work to the missions and goals of NASA.
For more information go to:

Tuesday, February 9, 1999, 10 AM Pacific Standard Time: Chris Lockwood,
lead engineer, Balance Calibration Lab
 Chris works with a team of four engineers who meet with principal
investigators or test engineers responsible for conducting tests of models
in wind tunnels. Chris' team is responsible for ensuring that all the
loads going to wind  tunnel balances are measured accurately. They must
also make sure that data are processed and equations provided to
allow wind tunnel engineers to determine what is happening to a model.

Read Chris Lockwood's autobiography prior to joining this chat.

Wednesday, February 10, 1999, 10 AM Pacific Standard Time: Tom
Glasgow, materials scientist
For the past several years, Tom has helped design experiments and
equipment for space shuttle microgravity science experiments. He has also
helped develop new materials for jet engines and rocket motors, and
invented a new rocket engine material that stands up to 6000 degree F
combustion temperature.

Read Tom Glasgow's autobiography prior to joining this chat.

Tuesday, February 16, 1999, 10 AM Pacific Time: Steve Englehart, author
Steve is the author of the book Countdown to Flight. His book
focuses on the lives of Orville and Wilbur Wright and their
work of creating a heavier-than-air, powered air craft, that
could be controlled during all aspects of flight. Steve's book uses
aeronautical terms and discusses research by the brothers'
peers to develop the story about the invention of the airplane.
Read about the Wright Brothers prior to joining this chat.

Registration for this chat will begin on February 2.

Tuesday, February 23, 1999, 11 AM Pacific Time: Pete Zell,
facility manager, NFAC

Pete is the facility manager for the National Full-Scale
Aerodynamics Complex (NFAC). He is responsible for making sure
that a customer's requirements are being met for testing
activities, and monitioring the day to day operations of the facility.
Additionally, he manages a staff of people who work on test
operations and the facility engineering tasks required for
testing. His staff also tests instrumentation, software, and
data acquisition systems.

Read Pete Zell's profile prior to joining this chat.


Live Webcast February 19th!

Please save one hour to view the lift in of the AIAA 1903 Wright Flyer
Model into the 40' x 80' wind tunnel, 10 a.m. Pacific Time, Friday,
February 19, 1999.

History meets technology when the precise replica of the 1903
Wright Flyer enters the state of the art wind tunnel!

See and hear pre-recorded tape of the Engine Test of the Wright
Flyer. Find the answer to the question what does it sound like?

Ask questions of Pilot #1, Fred Culick.

Learn how to attend this event! Go to

- - - - - - -
Wind Tunnel Data Lessons Revised

Are you planning to teach a lesson on tables and graphs using the Wright
Flyer Wind Tunnel Test Data which will be posted on Quest during the test
in "Near-Real" Time?
We have put up several lessons in the teachers lounge at

Know all the Angles now has a lesson for the Wright Flyer Data, called
Know all the Wright Angles and Watch you Attitude will have a lesson for
using the data soon!!

Please check the revisions!

 - - - - - - -

February Recyclable Model Contest
Hate to waste? Put your recyclables to good use!

Design your model of the 1903 Wright Flyer out of recycled materials. Be
creative and earth friendly!!

For details go to

- - - - - - -

Congratulations to the Winners of the December Poetry Contest!

Danielle Cooke, 4th Grade, Misawa, Japan, 1st place.

Alison Colvin, 6th Grade, Fillmore, Indiana, 1st place.

Jaime Boyd, 8th Grade, Victoria, B.C., CANADA 1st place.

Go to: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/wright/events/contest/gallery.html
to read the poems

- - - - - - -

Collaborative Events!

Several new aeronautics projects have students working collaboratively
online. One activity is targeted for elementary and middle school classes.
Two others will be for high school or junior high school kids. These
higher end activities might not be done as an entire class; other users
may include science clubs, GATE kids or science fair folk.

The ELEMENTARY / MIDDLE SCHOOL - Right Flying: students improve glider
designs. Next session starts in February.

 HIGH SCHOOL / JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL - Wind Tunnel Online Design students
work together to design small wind tunnels. Session has begun but late
comers are welcome.

For more detailed summaries of these three activities, go to

- - - - - - -

Teacher Chat on Wind Tunnel Data Lessons

We have received no input! Would you be interested?

Recognizing that some teachers might have some questions about the Wind
Tunnel Data Lessons, http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/wright/teachers/
we are planning a chat with Suzanne Ashby, Curriculum Specialist who has
written some of the data lessons.

We are asking for your suggestions as to what time of day would work for
you. Would you attend if we held the chat at 1:00 PM Pacific Time. The
chat is currently planned for February 23, 1999. We would also be
interested in any particular questions you want answered during the event.
Send your time suggestions and topic questions to slee@mail.arc.nasa.gov
We'll try to get your questions answered.

- - - - - - -

1903 Wright Flyer Model Status

 T minus 3 weeks

Plans are proceeding on schedule to test the Wright Flyer model during the
first two weeks in March!

On February 13, the model's engine will be tested. Also during that time,
noise measurements will be taken and evaluated for potential effect on
data acquisition.

Plans for wiring the sensors are being finalized and the rollstop for the
model has been built.

The sting will be moved into the 40' x 80' wind tunnel on February 16th or
17th. Once the sting is installed the balance will be mounted and
calibrated on the sting. The wires coming from all the gages in the
balance will be braided and sleeved.

Assuming all goes well, the model will be lifted into the test section of
the 40x80 wind tunnel on February 19, and prepared for the test. Quest is
planning a live Web cast (currently scheduled for 10:00 a.m. that day).
More information will be available shortly on the Special Events page at:

Ames is planning a media day on March 3, so be sure to watch the news that

[Editor's Note: Chris Lockwood is the Lead Engineer of the Balance Calibration Laboratory. He and his team calibrate all the internal balances for models in wind tunnel tests. Read his biography at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/wright/team/clockwood.html ]


December 23, 1998

By Chris Lockwood

The balance is a device inside the model that measures how much the model
is being pushed, pulled or twisted. We put very precise loads on the
balance in the lab, before the test begins to make sure it tells us the
correct force or torque  like putting a 100 pound weight on the bathroom
scale and making sure it reads 100 lbs. The way that we typically
put a load on a balance is to hang a weight at a very precise location and
angle relative to the balance. The problem is that you can't get gravity
to go upward. You can't hang a load in one location and hang another load
in the opposite direction somewhere else on the balance. It's very hard to
get combination loads into these devices. However, balances
experience combination loads in a wind tunnel tests.

We have developed a new machine here that can impart loads on to the
balances in six axises. That represents all the dimensions of forces and
moments. The three dimensions in which forces can be applied, up/down,
fore-and-aft and side-to-side. Then you have twisting moments or torques
so you have three rotations and three directions. This machine will apply
loads in all six degrees of freedom simultaneously.

I have worked on this Automatic Balance Calibration Machine for the past
six years. It senses the position of the balance. It also has rods with
electric actuators that extend and contract to push and pull, and twist
the balance in any direction. The machine is just coming into use now we
are currently testing it's accuracy compared to the dead weight
loads that we have used up to now. The test instrument for the machine, is
also the balance that will be used for the Wright Flyer test. In testing
the balance we are after repeatability. We should get the same results
with the dead weights that we get with the Automatic Balance Calibration
Machine. We will repeat the many different loadings, multiple times to
make sure we are consistent.

The balance is a 4 inch (referring to the diameter) Mk II C. Made by Able
Corporation this balance will take 8000 pounds of lift, that would be two
and a half or three cars! It is a fairly strong device. The Wright Flyer
model is very unique in that it probably only weighs 1000 lbs. And to fly,
it needs enough lift to over come it's weight. This balance can take 8,000
lbs. of lift so it is only using a small percentage of the capacity of the
balance. But the wings are so wide, the wingspan is so huge compared to
the balance that if there is a couple of hundred pounds difference from
one wing tip to the other it will make the model want to roll. We are very
close to the balance capacity in the strain gage that measures roll. To
prevent damage to the model during the wind tunnel test the AIAA team has
built a roll stop into the connection between the balance (and model) and
structure in the tunnel that supports the model.


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