Header Bar Graphic
Shuttle Image and IconAerospace HeaderBoy Image
Spacer TabHomepage ButtonWhat is NASA Quest ButtonSpacerCalendar of Events ButtonWhat is an Event ButtonHow do I Participate ButtonSpacerBios and Journals ButtonSpacerPics, Flicks and Facts ButtonArchived Events ButtonQ and A ButtonNews ButtonSpacerEducators and Parents ButtonSpacer
Highlight Graphic
Sitemap ButtonSearch ButtonContact Button

UPDATE #55 - March 12, 1999

PART 1: Upcoming Chat
PART 2: Project News
PART 3: Night Shift for the Wind Tunnel Test
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/#chatting

Wednesday, March 17, 1999, 10:30 AM Pacific Time:
Pete Zell, Facility Manager

Pete is the Facility Manager for the National Full-Scale
Aerodynamics Complex. What this really means is that he
watches over two wind tunnels and an outdoor research facility.
It's his job to make sure that all of the customers' requirements are
being met. In addition, Pete manages a group of folks who work on test
operations, test instrumentation and test software.
Read Pete Zell's profile prior to joining this chat

Thursday, March 18, 1999, 10:30 AM Pacific Time:
Jason Brown, Systems Safety Engineer

Jim performs safety analyses and studies. For the Wright Flyer, he
is evaluating the safety issues associated with the Variable Frequency
Power used to drive the model's motor.

Read Jason's biography at


AIAA 1903 Wright Flyer Wind Tunnel Test at the National Full-scale
Aeronautics Complex at NASA Ames Research Center begins March 1, 1999
Read the daily log from Test Manager Pete Zell.
See beautiful daily photos taken by Liza Coe at

- - - - - - -

March Creative Writing Contest

Welcome all entrants grades K-12! Think about what the 1903 Wright Flyer
Model feels like! A bit of
anthropromorphizing just for fun!

For details go to

- - - - - - -

Teacher Forum on Wind Tunnel Data Lessons

We have set up a forum for teachers with questions about the
Wind Tunnel Data Lessons, http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/wright/teachers/
This is similar to a bulletin board. You can post questions and
we'll get back to you by posting the answers. Check this link at:

- - - - - - -

Wind Tunnel Data Lesson Plans
Prepare to interact with the Data from the AIAA 1903 Wright Flyer wind
tunnel test using these lesson plans.

[Editor's Note: Another journal from your Wright Flyer Online Manager, Susan Lee. ]


by Susan Lee

March 12, 1999

On Monday I attended the pre-run meeting of the Wright Flyer Wind Tunnel
Test. It takes place just off to the side of the wind tunnel entrance in a
a new conference room.  The AIAA members had returned from Los Angeles and
they were bright-eyed and smiling. The meeting was held at 3:30 p.m.
That's when the night shift begins in the wind tunnel. I work day time and
most schools are on day shift too! It's hard to imagine a day that
begins at three in the afternoon and goes until midnight!! The reason this
wind tunnel test is being run on night shift is to save money.

The National Full Scale Aeronautics Complex has two wind tunnels in it.
One is the 80 x 120 and the other is the 40 by 80 which is the wind tunnel
that the Wright Flyer test is using. Only one tunnel can be used at a

NASA's budget was cut this year which means a lot of cost cutting is
happening in the Aeronautics Division. When NASA asks people to work at
night they pay them more money, called overtime. That means it's more
expensive to run the tunnel at night. Since the test happening in the
80x120 wind tunnel has more people working on it, the cost of running that
test would be higher on night shift than the Wright Flyer Test would be.
That is why they decided to run the Wright Flyer test at night.

The AIAA members did not complain. They feel lucky to have their model in
one of NASA's wind tunnels. In fact they are a bit like Orville and Wilbur
who camped on the shore of North Carolina in the cold month of December.
Spending their money to travel and eat away from home all for the
understanding of how to make the first airplane fly. It's very inspiring
to be around people like this.

Since I work days and I am not allowed to work overtime. I went home
after that to make dinner for my family and make sure that the homework
was started. I kept wondering how things were going in the wind tunnel.
After dinner, I left for a quick trip back to work to see how the test was
going. I arrived about 6:30 or 7:00 p.m. It was dark and cold. Ames seemed
deserted. The parking lots which are full during the day had only the odd
car or two in them.

When I pulled up to the parking near the wind tunnel the lot was full! I
went into the high bay, expecting to hear a roar of wind but the tunnel
was not loud. I rode the elevator up to the third floor, there was no one
there and the door to the tunnel was closed. Of course, everyone must be
in the control room on the second floor. I went down the stairs past pipes
and under the tunnel floor and up to the control room. When I walked in
everyone was there and looking completely intense and preoccupied.

It took a minute to understand what was happening. Finally I walked up to
Ira Chandler. He explained they were on their second run. The wind was
finally blowing over the wings of the AIAA 1903 Wright Flyer model! I felt
so excited. At first I couldn't figure out why everyone wasn't standing
and cheering like they do at the shuttle launch at Kennedy Space Center!
To me this was every bit as exciting. I looked at the television monitors
that displayed the output of video camera's on the tunnel walls. You could
see the tufts on the trailing edge of the wings sticking straight out
behind the wings.

One of these cameras was focused on the underside of
the wing. Several of the AIAA members were gathered around this watching
the tufts and talking about what they were seeing. Ruben Torrecampo was
running the tunnel fans. He had a head set on and was taking his cue from
Pete Zell who also had a head set on. Pete was walking back and forth
checking the monitors and the read on on the digital displays.

I asked Mike Lopez how things were going, he replied that everything
seemed to be going normally. He and all the NASA employees were pretty
focused this was their work and they were all working attentively.

Craig Hange also had a head set on. He was sitting at a Macintosh computer
running a Lab View software program that was collecting data. On his left
was Paul Stuart who was running the NPRIME system. On his right was Mike
Simundich and Rich Grimms watching the data collection carefully. It was
a very wired atmosphere but I'm sure I was wearing a huge smile the whole
time. When they completed the data run it was time for lunch. People broke
up into small groups wandering of to get a bit to eat. (Did you ever eat
lunch at 7:30?)

I decided I'd better go home because it was back to work early the next
morning. I wonder what Orville and Wilbur would say about all this. I bet
they would have found it even more exciting than I did!!


If this is your first message from the updates-aero list, welcome!

To catch up on back issues, please visit the following Internet URL:

To subscribe to the updates-aero mailing list (where this message
came from), send a message to:
In the message body, write only these words:
   subscribe updates-aero


To remove your name from the updates-aero mailing list, send a
message to:
In the message body, write only these words:
   unsubscribe updates-aero

Footer Bar Graphic
SpacerSpace IconAerospace IconAstrobiology IconWomen of NASA IconSpacer
Footer Info