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UPDATE #24 - May 22, 1998

PART 1: Upcoming Chat
PART 2: Project Plans
PART 3: 1903 Wright Flyer Project Press Conference
PART 4: Subscribing & Unsubscribing: How to do it

Tuesday, June 2, 1998 9:00 a.m.- 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time:

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
Read her biography prior to joining this chat.

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
Read his biography prior to joining this chat.


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]


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

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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