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UPDATE #42 - November 20, 1998

PART 1: Upcoming Chat
PART 2: Project News
PART 3: Three Weeks to Go
PART 4: Subscribing & Unsubscribing: How to do it


We will take a break on chats for the week of Thanksgiving. I know I am
grateful for the chance to Share NASA with you all! Also there will be no
update next week. Have a good holiday!

Wednesday, December 2, 1998, 10 AM Pacific Time: Ken Schrock, flight
test/project/instrumentation/telemetry, data communication engineer

Ken is responsible for connecting several locations that share data while
controlling air traffic. Read Ken Schrock's autobiography before joining
this chat.
Registration information is available at

Thursday, December 10, 1998, 9:30 AM Pacific Time: Chat with Orville and
Wilbur Wright!!
Just for fun we have two experts acting the roles of Orville and Wilbur
Wright for this special chat. It will be fun to see how well they can
We will reveal their identity at the end of the chat.
To prepare for the chat review the information at:
Registration information is available at


Wright Flyer Online Status Reports appear on the site at:

Test Preparations Continue

Now that the 1903 Wright Flyer Model is off the sting and on the ground
someone will move the Sting back to the wind tunnel so it will be ready
for the test. People will be clearing a space for the Wright Flyer in the
low bay of the wind tunnel for the Wright Flyer to sit and be worked on
prior to the test.

The model itself will be moved to the wind tunnel on December 11 at 9AM
PST. Your Wright Flyer Online team are pulling together a live Webcast
of this move with a Quest Chat. Mark you calendar's more information to

Help us advertise the wind tunnel test of the 1903 Wright Flyer!
For more info go to:

The wind tunnel data lesson plans for the 1903 Wright Flyer Wind Tunnel
Test are being written up for the Internet.  Watch for news of these
lessons in future updates. Your class will be able to use the near
real time test data with these lesson plans!

[Editor's Note: Fanny Zuniga wrote this journal last year for a wind tunnel test of the High Speed Civil Transport. I am sharing it with you again because the Wright Flyer Test is almost at this stage. Read Fanny's bio at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/team/zuniga.html ]


by Fanny Zuniga

December 29, 1997

Preparations for my Supersonic Transport Wind Tunnel Test are alive and
well. You'd think things might slow down a bit with the holidays coming.
No way!

We just found out that our internal balance doesn't work the way we
thought it did! The internal balance fits inside the model and is held in
place by struts that mount to the wind tunnel floor. This balance, in
turn, holds on to the model and measures all of the forces acting on it,
like Lift and Drag. By the way, these forces, like Lift and Drag, are what
I will sometimes call "loads." This is a brand new balance that
was built to handle the high loads this model will generate in our tunnel.
It turns out that the electrical signals coming out of the balance are
arranged differently than we thought, so we have to redo the wiring
that takes the signals to the computer where they are recorded.

We also have to change the way the computer software interprets those
signals once they arrive at the computer. Late-breaking changes like this
always add a lot of excitement and stress to test preparations.
We have electronics and software experts on our team that are going to
work over parts of the holiday to fix this problem. We had planned to move
our model and new balance next week into a special preparation area where
we have plans to check out the health of the balance. Hopefully, our team
will have the balance ready so we can stay on schedule!

That's not all! In my weekly telephone conferences with Boeing, Lockheed,
and Langley Research Center, we all decided to add some stuff to this
test. On a test like this, we usually want to get a picture of
the airflow on the model. We do this with a number of methods which I'll
introduce to you later. But this week we decided to add another method,
called oil flow pictures, to this test, which means we added
some more runs to our run schedule. Oil flow is where we put drops of
colorful oil on the wing, run the tunnel, and then take a picture of where
all the drops flowed to. We get really neat pictures which show
us how the air goes around the model. But then we have to stop the tunnel
and clean off the model before we can get the next picture. This is slow
work and really has a big impact on the run schedule.

On another front, some members of the team wanted to add more instruments
to our model. We already measure pressures and aerodynamic loads, but they
wanted to add a device which actually measures the loads on just part of
our model - in this case the wing tip. We would have to add special
devices to the model, run wires to get the signal from them to the
computer, and modify our software to interpret the signals. We decided ...
No! Sometimes we have to decide we cannot accommodate something new this
late in the game.

We also found out we were missing some accelerometers. These go in the
model and measure the tilt angle of the model (called the angle of
attack.) It seems everyone thought everyone else was going to
provide these. So now we are scrambling to find some and install them in
the model.

>From the above stories, you can get the idea that preparing for a test
like this takes a lot of communication, debate, and decision making. When
a miscommunication happens (and they always do) the test team has to
really work hard to make things work, like with the balance. The goal is
to have good communications, and that's why we have so many meetings to
talk about how things are going. Sometimes this is the hard part of
testing, and sometimes the fun part!


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