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UPDATE #49 - January 29, 1999

PART 1: Upcoming Chat
PART 2: Project News
PART 3: Picture a Big Record Player
PART 4: Subscribing & Unsubscribing: How to do it


QuestChats require pre-registration. Unless otherwise noted, registration
is at:  http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/chats

Plan ahead for February Black History Chats
February is Black History Month. To celebrate, NASA Quest will host a
series of chats with African American scientists and engineers who
contribute their work to the missions and goals of NASA. Below is the
current schedule which may be added to over time.  The chat sessions begin
on Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 2:30 p.m. EST with Dr. Aprille Ericsson-Jackson,
an aerospace engineer at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt,

Thursday, February 4, 1999, 12:30 PM Pacific Standard Time: Anne
Corwin, engineering aide
In addition to being an intern and a full-time student, Anne assists the
staff of the 40x80- and 80x120-foot wind tunnels with anything they need
help with. So lately she's very busy getting ready for the Wright Flyer
Wind Tunnel Test.

Read Anne Corwin's autobiography prior to joining this chat.

Tuesday, February 9, 1999, 10 AM Pacific Standard Time: Chris Lockwood,
lead engineer, Balance Calibration Lab
 Chris works with a team of four engineers who meet with principal
investigators or test engineers responsible for conducting tests of models
in wind tunnels. Chris' team is responsible for ensuring that all the
loads going to wind  tunnel balances are measured accurately. They must
also make sure that data are processed and equations provided to
allow wind tunnel engineers to determine what is happening to a model.

Read Chris Lockwood's autobiography prior to joining this chat.


Wednesday, February 10, 1999, 10 AM Pacific Standard Time: Tom
Glasgow, materials scientist
For the past several years, Tom has helped design experiments and
equipment for space shuttle microgravity science experiments. He has also
helped develop new materials for jet engines and rocket motors, and
invented a new rocket engine material that stands up to 6000 degree F
combustion temperature.

Read Tom Glasgow's autobiography prior to joining this chat.

Tuesday, February 16, 1999, 10 AM Pacific Time: Steve Englehart, author
Steve is the author of the book Countdown to Flight. His book
focuses on the lives of Orville and Wilbur Wright and their
work of creating a heavier-than-air, powered air craft, that
could be controlled during all aspects of flight. Steve's book uses
aeronautical terms and discusses research by the brothers'
peers to develop the story about the invention of the airplane.
Read about the Wright Brothers prior to joining this chat.

Registration for this chat will begin on February 2.

Tuesday, February 23, 1999, 11 AM Pacific Time: Pete Zell,
facility manager, NFAC

Pete is the facility manager for the National Full-Scale
Aerodynamics Complex (NFAC). He is responsible for making sure
that a customer's requirements are being met for testing
activities, and monitoring the day to day operations of the facility.
Additionally, he manages a staff of people who work on test
operations and the facility engineering tasks required for
testing. His staff also tests instrumentation, software, and
data acquisition systems.

Read Pete Zell's profile prior to joining this chat.


Live Webcast February 19th!

Please save some time on Friday, February 19, 1999. We don't have the
exact time yet but we think it will be about 10 am-ish PST. We are
planning a live webcast with chat of the AIAA 1903 Wright Flyer's move
into the 40 by 80 foot windtunnel. This promises to be a visual feast,
the antique looking model opposite the industrial electric crane
lifting it into the state of the art technology of the 40x80 wind
tunnel! Stay tuned for more information, coming soon!

- - - - - - -

Collaborative Events!

Several new aeronautics projects have students working collaboratively
online. One activity is targeted for elementary and middle school classes.
Two others will be for high school or junior high school kids. These
higher end activities might not be done as an entire class; other users
may include science clubs, GATE kids or science fair folk.

The ELEMENTARY / MIDDLE SCHOOL - Right Flying: students improve glider
designs. Next session starts in February.

 HIGH SCHOOL / JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL - Wind Tunnel Online Design students
work together to design small wind tunnels. Session has begun but late
comers are welcome.

For more detailed summaries of these three activities, go to

- - - - - - -

Teacher Chat on Wind Tunnel Data Lessons

Recognizing that some teachers might have some questions about the Wind
Tunnel Data Lessons, http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/wright/teachers/
we are planning a chat with Suzanne Ashby, Curriculum Specialist who has
written some of the data lessons. We are asking for your suggestions as to
what time of day would work for you. Would you attend if we held the chat
at 1:00 PM Pacific Time. The chat is currently planned for
February 23, 1999. We would also be interested in any particular questions
you want answered during the event. Send your time suggestions and topic
questions to slee@mail.arc.nasa.gov We'll try to get your questions

January Art Contest for Grades 1-8
Looking for an outlet for your (students) artistic talents?
Start with a line drawing of the Wright Flyer and create a drawing in the
style of Wassily Kandinsky, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, or Andy Warhol.
We can't wait to see what you come up with!!!

For details go to

- - - - - - -

1903 Wright Flyer Model Status

Data Acquisition Planning

As you can imagine a large portion of the planning for the Wind Tunnel
test involves planning how to get the data. At this week's Wright Flyer
Test meeting George Fenton reported that the balance calabration lab is
now recommending the 4" Mark 2 C balance, an instrument inside
the model utilizing strain gages to measure model loads, be used. The
previous plan was to use the 4" Mark 2 A balance. However since this was
use in the testing of the Automatic Balance Calibration machine it is now
associated with a large database and if it were to be broken because of
the Wright Flyer's likelihood of heavy roll loads the database would be

Mike Simundich, the instrumentation engineer, gave the calibration report
for the inclinometers to Craig Hange, research engineer. The inclinometer
is attached to a device during the callibration that can be set to a very
precise angle. At a given angle the inclinometer produces a given voltage.
It is moved to many different angles during the callibration, producing
many different voltages. The relationship between angles and voltages was
provided in this report. Now Craig can take this information and
configure the software so that when the computer measures the voltage from
the inclinometer after it has been installed on the model, the software
will convert the value for the voltage into an angle measurement. This is
how we will know the wings are warped.

Three different kinds of software will be used to acquire data from the
wind tunnel test. The Balance Load Alarms Monitoring System, (BLAMS), will
monitor the loads on the balance for safety to prevent overloading. NPRIME
will be used to collect the tunnel conditions and information on the
balance as a back up to LABVIEW. LABVIEW is engineering software that is
being used especially for this test to acquire data from all the model
instrumentation and the balance.

As soon as the tests currently being done in the 40X80 are finished these
software systems will be configured in the control room. As soon as the
model is installed on the sting in the 40x80, the instrumentation will be
installed and wired and checked out on the software. There's a lot to take
into consideration but the NFAC crew is very experienced and they are
planning ahead to avoid problems and delays.

[Editor's Note: Anne Corwin is an engineering aide and engineering student working in the National Full-Scale Aeronautics Complex. Read her profile at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/wright/team/corwin.html ]


by Anne Corwin

January 21, 1999

Wow...so much has happened since my last journal entry. I've become
acquainted with the Wright Flyer model up-close and personally due
to the nature of my most recent assignments. There is a list of "action
items"--activities and documents that must be performed and prepared
prior to starting the test--that I've been working from at the direction
of my boss, Pete Zell, who is the test manager of this project.

The first item I was assigned from this list was to prepare a model
support setup plan. The purpose of this plan is to describe how the model
will be supported in the tunnel. It takes into consideration the available
hardware, the dimensions of the model, and the inherent limits of the
facility. The Wright Flyer is something of a special case as compared to
models that the facility tests on a regular basis: those tend to be
supported by three struts (picture long metal sticks poking up from the
tunnel floor), arranged so that the tips of both wings each have their
own strut. and so does either the nose or the tail, depending on the
desired orientation. In the case of the Wright Flyer, the model is going
to be mounted on a sting, which in turn will be mounted on ONE of the
struts. The sting is like a horizontal metal extension that is attached to
a thick vertical metal pole. This allows the model to be positioned just
about over the center of the tunnel turntable. (Picture a big record
player embedded into the floor of the tunnel). Anyway, a large part of my
job was to figure out the angle at which the turntable should be
positioned so that the nose of the tunnel would point right at the air
flow, rather than meet it at an angle. I drew a scaled drawing of the
turntable, and had to figure out from given lengths and angles what the
optimum equipment positions would be for this test. The math was fun; it
reminded me of word problems from when I took geometry in high school. I
don't know what I'd do without the Pythagorean Theorem!

This kind of work often reminds me of detective work: you have to take all
the clues and "given" quantities available, and use them to find
your answer by determining relationships between them. It's also a
continuous reminder of how what you learn in school really DOES apply
in real life.

My next assignment was to devise a rigging plan for the Wright Flyer. A
rigging plan is something that describes how the model will be
secured and lifted into the tunnel. This model is particularly delicate,
so much care must be taken in order to ensure that it does not break on
being lifted in. The rigging plan assignment was something of a turning
point in my activities here at NASA, at least for now. I've spent most
of the past 6 months here on the computer, rather than out "in the field",
so to speak, which in this case consists of a bunch of huge dusty
warehouses and shop areas. In order to develop a rigging plan, I had to go
all over the place hunting for cables and beams. I found myself in
slightly scary places that looked as if nobody had been there for years.
(I also discovered the wonders of cargo pants: recently, I've had to
carry around pens, pencils, measuring tape, a notebook, and a calculator
wherever I go, and regular pockets just don't cut it.) I saw and
talked to a few mechanics and other assorted personnel on my many
searches. They didn't mind at all that I was in there, but I was always a
little self-conscious because though I am 20 years old, 99% of the people
that know me say I look about 15. I was afraid at first that anyone
who saw me would think I was some random kid running around plotting to
induce mass disorganization in a generally ordered environment.
(I always made sure to wear my ID badge!)

So far, I think the most difficult thing about my assignments has been
simply believing that I have the abilities and background to complete
them. I keep thinking things along the lines of, "I can't believe they're
letting me do this!" The way my job is structured, there is nobody
looking over my shoulder or coming after me to make sure I get all my work
done. If I don't understand something, it's my responsibility to
learn about it until I do. It amazes me that I have not yet come up
against anything I have not been able to figure out. Well, it's time for
me to go do some last-minute fine-tuning of my data entry software so it
can be tested over the network. Until next time,

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