UPDATE #61 - April 23, 1999
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. http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/team/ray.html 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. http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/wright/team/luan.html http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/wright/tunnels/balcallab.html 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 http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/team/palmer.html 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 turbines. Read Brent Nowlin's profile prior to joining this chat at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/team/nowlin.html
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 http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/customer.html 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. http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/wright/teachers/angles/data.html 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 http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/wright/teachers - - - - - - - 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 firstname.lastname@example.org - - - - - - - Right Flying Colaborative Projects Several classes have shared their glider flight test results which are Online at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/events/collaborative/gliders/index.html 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
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE AN ENGINEER
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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