UPDATE #21 - May 1, 1998
Monday May 4, 1998 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. George Kidwell, Deputy Director of R & D Services for Operations, George is responsible for directing the wind tunnel operations at Ames Research Center. There are three major national wind tunnel complexes at Ames, and each involves many skilled people, very large amounts of electrical power, a lot of high pressure and high speed air, and the need to run as quickly as possible while still maintaining safety and data accuracy. Registration information is at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/chats/#chatting Read his biography prior to joining this chat. http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/team/kidwell.html Monday, May 11, 1998, 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. PDT Steve Smith, Aerospace Research Engineer Steve does aerodynamic performance prediction and design of subsonic transports. He spends about one third of this time doing experimental research in wind tunnels, and about two thirds of the time in computational research. Registration information is at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/chats/#chatting Read his biography prior to joining this chat. http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/team/smith.html Mark May 19 and May 20 on your calendars!! NASA's Quest Project will be sponsoring two FULL days of QuestChats with experts from all of our projects!! Teachers who want to chat for three classes now have the chance. This special opportunity is offered in observance of SPACE DAY!
CONTEST WINNERS ANNOUNCED!
This is the moment many children have been waiting for, if my mailbox is any measure of the urgent need to know of some young people! But first, let me keep you in suspense for one more minute, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the distinguished panel of judges for this contest. Their input was thoughtful, encouraging, and timely. A great deal of thanks to Liza Alderete, Education Technology and Multimedia Manager, Ames Research Center; Coleen Kaiser, Multimedia Designer, Boeing Information Systems, NASA Headquarters; Jeffrey Samuels, Aerospace Engineer, Ames Research Center; and Christopher Sweeney, Flight Simulation Engineer, Logicon Syre, Ames Research Center. We have added their feedback to each contest submission. I urge you to take a minute to look at their excellent comments. See http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/events/pictures/ and http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/events/essays/ And now let me thank all of the children for their efforts and the parents and teachers who help to get these entries to Ames. We have decided to send NASA Party packs to all entrants. Early bird prizes will go to those entries received prior to March 30. Special category winners in the Design a Picture of an Airplane Contest for Grades K-2 include: Samuel T. Wood, Best Artistic Drawing of an Airplane; Kayla Twomey, Best Plan-View Drawing of an Airplane; Justin Harrison, Best Drawing of a Military Airplane; Justin Harrison, Best Drawing of a Military Airplane; Amy Nelson, Fastest Airplane Design; Mellisa Perman, Best Use of Weather Effects; Katerina Hadley, Best All-Weather Airplane; Peter Daelson, Best Fighter Jet design; Seth Thorson, Best use of Perspective; Stephanie V, Best drawing of a commercial passenger airplane; and Tony P, Best drawing of a conceptual aircraft. Special category winners in the Design a Picture of an Airplane Contest for Grades 3-5 include: Siddharth Bhaskar, Best attention to detail; and Morgan Carlisle, Best Technical Illustration. Special category winners in the Write About the Airplane You Would Like to Design Essay Contest for Grades 6-8 include: Rodrigo Gomez-Ruis, Reynaldo Hellmund, Juan Andres Cisneros, Best Brainstorming New Ideas Award; James Mark Wood, Best Application of Aeronautical Concepts; Jake Edmunds, Most Realistic Design; Enrique Del Real, Javier Galdo, Juan Miguel Temes, Best Combination of Ideas Award; and Marien Di Marco, Kristhel Rubio, Adriana Gomez-Ruiz, Most Creative Design Award. Special category winners in the Write About the Airplane You Would Like to Design Essay Contest for Grades 9-12 include: Stephanie Wong, Best Application of Aeronautical Concepts Award; and Bruce Carlisle, Best Brainstorming and Combining Ideas Award. Congratulations to all!!!
[Editor's Note: Ray Oyung is the Research Coordinator for the Fatigue Countermeasures Program. He is studying the effect of sleep loss on pilots. Read his bio at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/team/ray.html ]
LEARNING FROM A SURVIVOR
by Ray Oyung
February 13, 1998 This Wednesday and Thursday, our program sponsored an Education Training Module Workshop to teach regulatory officials, training managers, medical officers, and safety officers in the aviation and transportation industry. The workshop is about sleep physiology, personnel scheduling strategies, and preventive and operational countermeasures to assist these representatives in making their work environment safer. The background of these representatives include commercial and corporate airline pilots, locomotive engineers, marine pilots, aviators and doctors from each of the military branches including Coast Guard, and even folks from the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)! Each workshop brings in people from many diverse backgrounds and industries. This workshop included medical personnel from the Air Force Academy, policy makers from Transport Canada (equivalent to the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States), a flight surgeon from the Navy's Top Gun division, safety officers from various corporate and commercial airlines, and two agents from the FBI. This workshop is particularly unique because we have a special guest with us. One of the topics we cover during the day is a briefing on the first airplane accident where fatigue was considered to play a major role. The accident occurred in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba several hundred miles off the coast of Florida. The pilots were flying an overnight cargo operation through the night. After landing at their final destination, they were called back to fly some mail to Cuba that afternoon. The pilots were awake for an average of 20.5 hours before the accident. It was a mail flight on a DC-8 cargo plane. The people on board consisted of the captain, first officer, and flight engineer. Their skills totaled almost 40,000 hours of flight experience. This is a lot of flight time and the accident did not happen because the pilots were bad pilots. When the pilots approached the airport at Cuba, several factors took place leading up to the accident. There is never one thing that causes an accident. Think of many slices of swiss cheese. There are holes in each slice, but no slice has the holes in exactly the same place. If you pick a hole in each slice of cheese and line them up so you can see through all the slices, this is how accidents occur. Our special guest today is the first officer from that flight to Guantanamo Bay. He has healed since the accident which occurred about five years ago and has been certified to fly again. He does have a waiver allowing him to fly with a prosthetic leg. In addition to a broken arm, his right leg was lost due to the accident. The first officer elaborated on the events described in the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report on the accident. The NTSB is an independent agency that is tasked with investigating transportation accidents and providing recommendations to avoid these types of accidents in the future. Our program provided some advice for analyzing fatigue factors in accident investigation. These factors include: the amount of sleep loss prior to the incident/accident; the number of hours awake; the time of day; known sleep disorders. These factors tagged onto the fact that the air traffic controller that day was a trainee, and that an important ground reference beacon was inoperative led to the accident. In addition to hearing about the accident first hand, it was an invaluable experience to allow us to think about aspects of the flight and learn from the mistakes. Fortunately, no one died in order for the rest of us to gain important information. The discussion also gave us a chance to reflect on our own operations. Whether that's flying an airplane, healing people who are sick, navigating a boat, or driving a car, this exercise helps each one of us stop and think about how fragile we each are and that we can get hurt (in addition to potentially hurting others) if we're not careful. By the end of the second day, each of the participants had plenty of material to bring back to their organization. They were able to take with them the knowledge of how important sleep is to safely operate in any environment. With this knowledge, they can make educated decisions that apply directly with crew scheduling, policy making, or other pertinent aspects of running their particular operation.
[Editor's Note: Leslie Ringo is a Flight Simulation Engineer. She is one of the engineers responsible for ensuring this simulator responds exactly as a real aircraft would in the air. Some of the simulations she has worked on include the Comanche helicopter, Space Shuttle, and future versions of fighter jet aircraft. Read her bio at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/team/ringo.html ]
PREPARING FOR A FIGHTER PLANE SIM
by Leslie Ringo
April 27, 1998 I have been working on a simulation of a fighter plane. Every morning when I get into work I get in the cab to check out the simulation. I make sure that cab is set up and ready for the researchers and pilots to get in there to do their tasks & research. The best way to check the cab is to first set up and then fly the simulation. For the fighter aircraft, we uses a visual scene of a naval air station. In setting up for a simulation, we first must prepare all the initial conditions of the pilot tasks. The typical phrase used when talking about an initial condition is called "IC". When setting up an IC position, the first run might be on a runway just about to take off and the second run will start in the air as a landing approach towards the runway. To actually fly the simulation, we change our simulation mode from "IC" to "operate." In IC, the aircraft will not move. In "operate", the fun begins since you actually have control over the fighter aircraft. In operate mode, I check out the cab to verify everything is working correctly as it would in the real aircraft. All the levers and buttons are checked. This is the first step in a cab check out. The second step is to actually just fly around and get a "feel" to if it is responding correctly. Some larger aircrafts like a transport or the Space Shuttle may have a slow response. For a fighter plane, you would check out if you get the "fast" response. I also try to land the plane and make sure that its actually landing on the runway not going through it. I make sure that the visual scene matchs up to what it would look like when you are on the ground. Sometimes, I have seen simulations where it looks like you landed in mid air. I make sure you actually get a landing gear sound out of the sound system. Then I practice takeoff, I know what air speed the aircraft will take off at and I know the certain procedures, the certain switches and buttons that push to take off. I go through the entire procedure and I make sure that I take off at the right speed and that things work the way they should. I follow a check list like flaps down, flaps up. I push the throttle all the way forward and hold on. Currently, I have a problem when I try to land on a ship. Every time I aim for the deck, I keep sinking until I land on the water. After making sure I actually had the gear down, I then started consulting the engineer who provided this code. In this simulation, we have a new landing gear model. This is a very very maneuverable sim. If you want to go off to the left you have no problem you can go as fast as you want. And since this is a fighter aircraft, no check out would be complete without a couple of barrel rolls! When I fly, the simulation is fixed base and there is no motion. The pilot engineers are the people who fly with motion. The pilot engineers check the sim to see if it feels like a real aircraft. You are more likely to get airsick in a fixed based sim. During a motion sim, the little bones in your ears move and send neurological information to your brain to reset your equilibrium. So in a motion sim, what your eyes see and your body feels, they match up so you are less likely to get motion sickness. But in a fixed base sim what your body feels and what your eyes are seeing are in conflict. Next week we will have the researcher in the lab. He will get in the cab and fly all his tasks and test all his different modes and make sure that the sim works the way he want before we start taking data. I need to understand his model in order to program it. If he changes his requirements when he comes out next week I will have to make changes to the code for the simulation. So far the model is working very well so I am not expecting to have to make a great number of changes.
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