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UPDATE #61 - April 23, 1999

PART 1: Upcoming Chats
PART 2: Project News
PART 3: What it Means to be an Engineer
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

Tuesday, April 27, 1999, 11 AM Pacific Daylight Time:
Ray Oyung, research coordinator, Fatigue Countermeasures Program

Ray is part of a team that works in the Fatigue Countermeasures
Program. The team tries to find ways to reduce the effects of
fatigue, sleep loss, and disruptions to the body's internal
clock on flight crews during flight operations. Ray is also part of a
research team. As a member of the research team, Ray collects

data from experiments focusing on certain aspects of fatigue
and how they affect us.

Read Ray Oyung's profile prior to joining this chat.

Wednesday, April 28, 1999, 11 AM Pacific Time:
Phillip Luan, instrumentation engineer

Balances used in wind tunnel tests tell engineers how the
force of the wind affects the model. Phillip is responsible for making
sure that balances used for these tests are extremely accurate. He
also helps determine how electrical signals received during the
tests are related to the accuracy of the balances.

Read Phillip Luan's profile and learn more about the Balance Calibration
Lab prior to joining this chat.


Thursday, May 6, 1999, 9 AM Pacific Daylight Time:
Grant Palmer, computational fluid dynamics engineer

When a spacecraft such as the space shuttle returns to Earth
from space, the friction caused by the air rushing past the surface of a
vehicle causes it to heat up. Grant writes computer programs that predict
how hot the vehicle surface will get. Grant's work is part of a larger
process called computational fluid dynamics (CFD). His work is important
because without CFD, spacecraft designers would have to guess how hot a
vehicle would get. If their guesses are wrong, a vehicle would either be
heavier than it had to be or get damaged when it returned to Earth.
Read Grant Palmer's profile prior to joining this chat at

Wednesday, May 12, 1999, 10 AM Pacific Daylight Time:
Brent Nowlin, electrical operations engineer

Brent works in a facility that tests the performance of
medium- and large-scale gas turbines (like those used on commercial
airliners). Brent is responsible for ensuring that instruments and control
systems work properly in the turbine facility. He leads a team that is
responsible for overseeing and conducting research testing on the
facility. The goal of the testing is to increase the efficiency of the
Read Brent Nowlin's profile prior to joining this chat at


Customer Survey Coming Your Way

In order to account for the money we spend on these projects, we
occasionally survey our customers to find out how they use the projects

and also to find out how we can improve. We will be sending out an Aerospace Team Online Customer Survey soon. Please take a minute to complete
this an send it back as a reply, or if you prefer you may complete it
online at 
Thanks for your help!

- - - - - - -

Wright Flyer Replica Wind tunnel Data Posted with Lesson Plans!

See five runs worth of data and use it with the lesson plans to gain an
understanding of the data.

Wind Tunnel Data Lesson Plans

Do you "Know all the Angles"? Learn about lift and drag! Grades 4-8

Why is it important to "Get the Wright Pitch"? and "Watch your Attitude"!
Grades 6-8

Getting "Up, up and Away" - learn what the Wright Brothers learned.
Grades 9-12


- - - - - - -

Share your classes' experience with the Wright Flyer Data

Win a NASA Party Pack, (posters and lithographs), by sending a note
describing your experience teaching with the Wind Tunnel Data Lesson
Plans. We'd like to know how we can improve. Send a one page description
to slee@mail.arc.nasa.gov

- - - - - - -

Right Flying Colaborative Projects

Several classes have shared their glider flight test results which are
Online at


Look for their final results which are beginning to appear at

http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/events/collaborative/final/  !

[Editor's Note: Phil Luan is a mechanical engineer. He is helping to build a new invention called the Automatic Callibration Machine! Read his bio at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/wright/team/luan.html


by Phillip Luan

April 19 1999

Today wasn't a very exciting day. Yes, just like any job there are days
when you have paperwork and just plain work to do. Someone from an audit
team came this afternoon to check our work procedures and make sure we
conform to International Organization for Standardization, ISO,
codes. This means I had to make sure our reports are in order and that we
are documenting our work.

But even though today I won't get to discover anything interesting or get
to make something useful, I still have work to do. Today I'll also be
working on the Automatic Balance Calibration Machine Upgrade project. I
joined the team about a year ago, but others have been working on it for
more than 10 years. The project is almost complete now and a lot of people
are excited its finally done and that it actually works. But the outcome
wasn't always clear. At times it has been frustrating and consisted of
long hours of troubleshooting and days of labor intensive tasks. Today was
the second of four days we plan to collect comparison data for evaluating
the accuracy of the new machine. We need to collect enough data to
determine the repeatability of the machine and of our process. What
this means is a co-worker and I will spend half the day setting up and
collecting data.

Today might sound pretty boring and maybe even like a day in school, but
it's work we have to do to finish our project. For one hour of inspiration
and dreaming about an idea it takes a 100 hours of careful planning,
experimentation, documentation, troubleshooting, making mistakes,
correcting your mistakes, getting off track, getting re-focused, and not
giving up. But that's what it takes to bring an idea to life. And I think
that's what it means to be an engineer.


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