UPDATE #51 - February 12, 1999
QuestChats require pre-registration. Unless otherwise noted, registration is at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/chats 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. http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/wright/team/englehart.html 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. http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/wright/team/zell.html Wednesday, February 24, 1999, 10:30 AM Pacific Time: Orville & Wilbur Wright, Inventors of the first powered airplane Yes, you read it right... The Wright Brothers had so much fun chatting with you last December, that they're ready to answer your challenging questions once again! Two aeronautics experts will act the roles of Orville and Wilbur Wright for this special chat. Just how well Orville & Wilbur answer your questions will be based on the questions you ask them! Read Orville & Wilbur Wright background information prior to joining this chat. http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/wright/background/ Thursday, February 25, 1999, 10:30 AM Pacific Standard Time: Paul Langston, television production specialist Paul is responsible for developing concepts for NASA television shows that he and his team produce for NASA. He is also responsible for making video tapes which tell stories about certain NASA concepts, or developing footage for the news about some research NASA is doing. With his video editing skills and sophisticated equipment, Paul is able to create broadcast quality tapes about NASA. Read Paul Langston's profile prior to joining this chat. http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/team/langston.html
Live Webcast February 19th! Please save one hour to view the lift in of the AIAA 1903 Wright Flyer Model into the 40' x 80' wind tunnel, 10 a.m. Pacific Time, Friday, February 19, 1999. History meets technology when the precise replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer enters the state of the art wind tunnel! See and hear pre-recorded tape of the Engine Test of the Wright Flyer. Find the answer to the question what does it sound like? Ask questions of Pilot #1, Fred Culick. Learn how to attend this event! Go to http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/wright/events/liftin.html - - - - - - - February Recyclable Model Contest Hate to waste? Put your recyclables to good use! Design your model of the 1903 Wright Flyer out of recycled materials. Be creative and earth friendly!! For details go to http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/wright/events/contest/recyclable.html - - - - - - - Teacher Forum on Wind Tunnel Data Lessons We have received no input as to when you can come to a chat so we are planning to set up a forum for teachers with questions about the Wind Tunnel Data Lessons, http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/wright/teachers/. This would be similar to a bulletin board. You can post questions and we'll get back to you by posting the answers. - - - - - - - 1903 Wright Flyer Model Status Engine Test to Lift In The balance for the wind tunnel test has been wired and is being checked out for noise. The engine will be tested today. What do you think those bicycle chains will sound like. The AIAA members will bring the control panel with them for the test and answer some final questions for the engineers here. The new sonic sensors for the wind velocity in the tunnel are working very well. The roll stop has been completed. Don't forget to join us for the Webcast of the lift in on February 19, 1999.
[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 ]
BEAMING IN THE WRIGHT FLYER
by Anne Corwin
February 10, 1999
I think I'm about ready to start having nightmares. Exactly ten days from now, the Wright Flyer will be lifted from the low-bay (like a garage) where it is currently being stored into the 40x80 foot wind tunnel. Like I said in my last entry, I put together the rigging plan (I located equipment and calculuated critical measurements for the lift-in) for the flyer, and I'm hoping that my measurements weren't off by any significant factor; that could spell disaster! My work WILL be checked over, but still, I can't help but obsess over things like, "What if one of the cables is two inches too long?" and "What if I didn't get the correct angle on something?" I guess any feat of engineering that involves manipulating objects in the real world rather than simply on paper or on a computer involves some degree of risk. I think my numbers came out fine, but nonetheless, it's a bit frightening. For the most part, however, I'm just excited. I've said this a million times, but I feel so fortunate to be able to take part in this project. (I'm afraid it will be sort of a let-down when the whole thing is over!) I'm even passing up a ski trip at Lake Tahoe so that I can stay here for the lift in--this will be a once in a lifetime experience, whereas I'm sure many other ski trips will come my way. Lately, my work as far as the Wright Flyer Project goes has consisted mainly of looking over all my drawings, making sure what I have is in order, and of trying to figure out the best way to align the model in the tunnel using a device called a laser level. The laser level is a stocky, black, cylindrical object a little over a foot long and having about an eight-inch radius. It produces two laser beams: one rotates around fast so that it creates a sheet, or a plane, of light. You can orient this plane horizontally or vertically, depending on what you need to use the device for. The other beam is a single beam that does not spin: it simply produces a line exactly perpendicular to the surface of the sheet of light. ("Perpendicular" means an up-down line standing straight on a right-left line, the way the stem of the letter T relates to the top bar.) You can pick a "reference" mark with which to align the laser, and then use this to make sure none of the parts of whatever you are building or setting up are crooked. If you were to set up a model and its initial angles were not what they were supposed to be, the data taken during the test could come out all wrong. Working here sometimes reminds me of the labs I do in my physics class at school: just this past Monday night, my classmates and I had to figure out how to use a device called an oscilloscope. We were given a diagram that had labels on all the buttons on the front...there were over fifty of them! It was fun playing with all the controls, because the oscilloscope has a little screen on it that shows what different voltages, currents, and radio waves look like visually. We used the oscilloscope to measure the voltage of a C battery: the package said the battery was 1.5 volts, and when we put little probes on the positive and negative sides of the battery, a line appeared on the screen about 1.4 units up from the "zero" line, indicating that the battery had perhaps been used, but that we were indeed seeing a representation of its internal potential. Well, the whole point of that little tangent was that work (where I'm doing what I would consider to be relatively simple engineering tasks) and school (where I'm being trained to be an engineer) both emphasize and demonstrate the importance of being able to approach, become familiar with, and use a certain piece of equipment. Being able to interpret instruction manuals is a vital skill in the workplace. (It's important in the home, too, but I STILL can't program a VCR, even at the advanced age of twenty! :)) So altogether, I'll be quite busy over the course of the next week and a half or so. I hope all of you can check out the live video feed of the lift in!
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