UPDATE #24 - May 22, 1998
Leslie Ringo, Flight Simulation Engineer, Leslie has just completed a simulation of a military fighter plane at the Verticle Motion Simulator. Registration information is at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/chats/#chatting Read her biography prior to joining this chat. http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/team/ringo.html Thursday June 11, 1998 9:00 a.m.- 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time: Craig Hange, Aerospace Research Engineer Craig is an Aerospace Engineer working on the Joint Strike Fighter Program and the Wright Flyer Test. 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/hange.html
As we head into summer and your thoughts turn to vacation plans I want to give you an idea of what will be happening with Aerospace Team Online. We will go to a reduced schedule of chats, maybe one or two a month. We need to give these overworked experts a break and frankly chat attendance really drops off in the summer. We will also produce fewer updates. What will we do with all the extra time? We are going to be working hard to add a new dimension to Aerospace Team Online about the Wright Flyer Wind Tunnel Test. We are going to call this part of the project Wright Flyer Online and we plan to add curriculum and background every month during the summer. This project will be very interesting for your students next fall so stay tuned!!
[Editor's Note: Robyn Gottheiner is a high school intern at Ames Research Center and she attended the 1903 Wright Flyer Project Press Conference. She wrote this journal to share that experience with you. Robyn has captured other information about the Wright Flyer at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/WrightFlyer.html]
1903 WRIGHT FLYER PROJECT PRESS CONFERENCE
by Robyn Gottheiner May 15, 1998 After intensely researching the background of the 1903 Wright Flyer Project, being conducted by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), I was excited by the opportunity to attend an informal press briefing at NASA Ames Research Center on Tuesday, April 28. Fully equipped with reporting utensils, Susan Lee, my mentor, and I arrived at 10:30 am just in time for the main event. Upon our arrival we were warmly greeted by Rich Grimm, one of the AIAA Wind Tunnel Engineers. He gladly showed us to the model and made us feel welcomed to the event. Rich introduced us to many of his fellow team members, and in particular Marilyn Ramsey. Being one, if not the only, of the women in the AIAA group, she had no trouble fitting in the gang. Marilyn does the public relations work for the 1903 Wright Flyer Project and is a FAA Display Representative. She took some time out of the press conference to show Susan and myself around, telling us stories of the road trip from Los Angeles to the Bay Area, and taking us to an aerial viewing point of the aircraft. Everyone we encounted from the AIAA was extremely kind, sharing information about the AIAA, the wind tunnel test, and the mission of the 1903 Wright Flyer Project. Most of the AIAA team members are retired individuals whose love for aviation and the Wright Flyer inspire them to volunteer towards this cause. Many members have a specialized interest in the project, some on the engineering side, photography, fabrication, and about eleven stand in line to fly the model when it is completed. Project Engineer, Fred Culick happily heads the line of pilots. He will most likely fly the model during the 2003 celebration, or before. After talking to many of the other people at the press conference, I got to take a close inspection of the Wright Flyer model. Two huge trucks, which were used to transport the plane to northern California, were strategically placed diagonally behind the aircraft for advertisement. Bustling around the main attraction were camera men and photographers trying to capture the perfect image of the model Wright Flyer. Once I got close enough for a good look I was absolutely amazed by the materials used to put together the plane. The majority of the model is made up of wood and a cotton canvas covering. It looks so flimsy! The person flying the aircraft lies down on the lower wing and maneuvers with their arms and feet. I am sure landing the plane is a very bumpy experience because the struts are practically right under the pilots body. Without having any great safety precautions, I am sure flying this plane is a scary event. This is due mostly to the fact that the spruce propellers, which circle around at a high speed, are directly behind the pilots body. It wouldn't be a pretty sight if the pilot slipped backwards! Just as the area was getting slightly crowded with press and NASA workers, Michael Mewhinney, Special Assistant for Media Services at NASA, got the press conference started. Susan and I grabbed seats in the front row, and carefully listened to the proceedings. First Mr. Mewhinney thanked everyone for attending the briefing and then introduced the guest speakers. Jack Cherne, AIAA Wright Flyer Project Chairman, took the stage first. His light-hearted, comical talk basically told the history of the AIAA and the 1903 Wright Flyer Project. He introduced many of his fellow team members, and gave a brief summary of what they hope to accomplish in the wind tunnel tests. After Mr. Cherne had finished talking he handed the podium over to Pete Zell who is the Wind Tunnel Test Director at NASA Ames. He said that it was fairly hard to fit this test into the NASA schedule, with budget cuts being a huge obstacle, but with a great amount of determination on both the side of the AIAA and NASA, they finally got a period of time in January of 1999 for testing. He relayed the importance of this event for education, and especially honoring the work of the Wright brothers. Mr. Zell also stressed that NASA does not regularly receive these types of requests for Wind Tunnel use, but that this will be a fun and monumental event in NASA and aviation history. The last speaker was Joe Kleitman, the former mayor of Mountain View. With an extremely enthusiastic tone of voice, Mr. Kleitman took the opportunity to thank both NASA and the AIAA for opening the experience up to the public. By allowing schools and families to learn about the Wright Flyer and this project, the test is turned into a fun, educational community event. Once the question and answer period had passed, Mr. Mewhinney announced that group and public tours of the Wright Flyer replica will be available beginning June 1st (but only with reservations). When the briefing came to a close, socializing resumed. All of the AIAA team members gathered in front of the model for pictures, and the press interviewed many of the key project coordinators. I enjoyed the chance to view the Wright Flyer replica and learn about the historic components. The Wright brothers created a chapter in history which advanced the whole world and the way people live and interact. I cannot think of a better place to celebrate the Wright Flyer than NASA Ames Research Center where aviation history has been made and research is geared to develop technologies for the future of aeronautics.
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