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UPDATE #51 - February 12, 1999

PART 1: Upcoming Chats
PART 2: Project News
PART 3: Beaming in the Wright Flyer
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

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.

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.


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


- - - - - - -

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

- - - - - - -

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,

[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

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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