UPDATE #28 - July 24, 1998
PROJECT MANAGER'S NOTES
~In the last Aero Update (27), Stephen Jaeger mentioned his father's illness in his journal. Several people wrote to hear how he was doing, Stephen wrote to say: Thank you Everyone for the nice comments. Through determination and German stubbornness, my father has beaten the odds and made about a 90% recovery. His voice is slurred and he still has some short-term memory problems but we are hoping he can get back to a normal life. Steve ~Development of the Wright Flyer Online Web site continues. A recent addition was the biography of Pete Zell, http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/wright/team/zell.html Pete will be the Test Manager for the wind tunnel test of the AIAA 1903 Wright Flyer model. He recently appeared on Kid's Club at program produced by KTEH, San Jose's PBS television station. I don't know if it will be rebroadcast in your local area but it might be worth a look at the listings. ~Aero Design Team Online got a recent boost in the form of a grant from the Department of Education. The extra money will pay for the following four features that we think teachers will find useful. * Age-appropriate lesson plans using data from a wind tunnel test with the Wright Flyer * Collaborative online activities in which students work together in groups on aeronautics projects * Specific suggestions to help teachers use student-to-NASA-expert communications within various curriculum * Moderation of discuss@quest to improve the quality of our teacher-to-teacher discussion list The results of these efforts should be visible by the end of the summer.
SHARING NASA TAKES FLIGHT WITH SUMMER AEROSPACE QUESTCHATS!
Wondering how to spice up your summer? Looking for a way to beat the heat? Quest is running a series of COOL chats this summer. Oran Cox the QuestChat guru, will host these chats with experts from different Quest Sharing NASA Projects who share an involvement in space transportation including alternative space vehicles, and developing spacecraft that allow humans to travel further into space. Aprille Ericsson, from the Women of NASA project, and Grant Palmer, from the Aero Design Team Online project, and Andrew Petro from the Space Team Online project to discuss their involvement in spacecraft design. They are just three of the many NASA scientists, engineers, and researchers involved in this important work. Tuesday, August 4, 11:30 a.m. Pacific: Aprille Ericsson, aerospace engineer In order to understand how spacecraft may behave during flight, April conducts simulations on spacecraft designs. The simulations allow her to determine if any changes should be made to the construction and design of spacecraft, and how the propulsion systems will function. She also teaches engineering design and professional engineering courses at Bowie State University in Bowie, Maryland. Read Aprille's autobiography before to joining this chat. http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/women/bios/ae.html Registration for this chat will begin on July 21. http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/ Tuesday, August 11, 9:30 a.m. Pacific: Grant Palmer, computational fluid dynamics engineer When a spacecraft such as the space shuttle returns to Earth from space, the friction caused by the air rushing past the surface of a vehicle causes it to heat up. Grant writes computer programs that predict how hot the vehicle surface will get. Grant's work is part of a larger process called computational fluid dynamics (CFD). His work is important because without CFD, spacecraft designers would have to guess how hot a vehicle would get. If their guesses are wrong, a vehicle would either be heavier than it had to be or get damaged when it returned to Earth. Read Grant's autobiography before joining this chat. http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/team/palmer.html Registration for this chat will begin on July 28. http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/ Wednesday, August 12, 9:00 AM Pacific: Andy Petro, spacecraft design engineer Andy is part of a team involved with planning future projects and designing spacecraft for returning to the moon and going on to Mars. He explains that"designing spacecraft means that we do a lot of 'brainstorming' to come up with new ideas." But his team also works on improvements to space shuttles and designs for launchers, which will eventually replace the shuttles. Much of their work also consists of working through many calculations and making drawings and models of spacecraft designs. Read Andy's autobiography before joining this chat. http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/space/team/petro.html Registration for this chat http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/qchats/
[Editor's Note: Eric Villeda is an Aerospace Systems Safety Research Assistant, Ames Research Center. He belongs to the Aeronautical Crew Decision Making group. The main focus of his group is to study how flight crews interact and make decisions. Read his bio at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/team/villeda.html ]
PILOTS AND FIREFIGHTERS
by Eric Villeda June 10, 1998 Yesterday we had visitors from the United Kingdom. Patrick Tissington is a student at the Fire Service College and Mark Smitherman works with the British Fire Service. They came to talk to us about some decision making and crew resource management skills that they might be able to transfer from our research to their fire-fighting methods. Some of the things that we talked about were decision strategies. What are the best ways to make decisions when dealing with such a large group if the situation is changing rapidly with the fire? Another subject we spoke about was situation awareness: how can you tell when you have different groups of fire fighters if everyone isn't aware of what is going on? This is very hard to do because some fire fighters might be on a different side of the building, and you don't know if they are in the building. Meanwhile, you are trying to get the fire under control. One of the parts of my research that we talked about was how planning might help them organize as a team to fight fires and what kind of techniques that they could use to maintain situation awareness. Its difficult to stay in touch with one another and coordinate. They have radios, but once they enter a building the radio transmissions don't really work very well. A typical scenario is one team is fighting a fire and they need help. Other groups of fire fighters will arrive, have to be briefed on the situation, and then they have to try and coordinate with the people who are already there. Its difficult to tell them exactly what you want them to do when they get there. Similar situations that pilots could be in, which we have researched, are in-flight emergencies and mechanical problems with the airplane. The pilots have to diagnose the problem, which can be kind of difficult. If they know the problem they may not know the solution. Like front-line firefighters, their only way to communicate with other people is over the radio. For example, they can call maintenance control to try to solve the problem. Studying flight crews is different from studying firefighters because communication in the cockpit is between a small number of people (maybe only two or three), but with a large fire you can have many people running around doing different things. One thing we shared about communication is verbalizing your actions or intentions to other team members. For example, a flight crew may be put in a holding pattern and one crewmember may say why don't I put the flaps out so the turn radius will be a bit closer. This helps the other crewmember know what you are planning to do and why. This gives a shared mental model to make sure you are on the same page. Those kinds of communications are very effective - especially in situations where you are not familiar with the person you are working with.
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