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ADTO # 84 - October 29, 1999

PART 1: Upcoming Chat
PART 2: Special Events
PART 3: Telecommuting
PART 4: Aviation Dreaming


QuestChats require pre-registration. Unless otherwise noted, registration
is at:  http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/chats/#chatting

Monday November 1, 1999 10 AM Pacific Daylight Time:
Grant Palmer, Computational Fluid Dynamics Engineer

Grant Palmer writes computer programs that predict how hot the surface
of the space shuttle will get when it returns to Earth from space.

Read his biography prior to the chat at

Friday, November 19, 1999 10 AM - 11 AM Pacific
Ray Oyung, Research Coordinator for the Fatigue Countermeasures Program

Ray Oyung is part of a team that tries to find ways of reducing the
effects of fatigue, sleep loss, and disruptions to the body's internal
clock on flight crews during flight operations.

Read Rays' biography at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/team/ray.html


A Webcast of the test of the Right Flyer Gliders!

Filmed at the United States Air Force Academy Aeronautics Laboratory Wind
Tunnel This real media file will debut during the week of November
8,1999. We will have a chat room featuring Richard Yanni the teacher
whose class put the gliders into the tunnels.
The event is planned for Tuesday, November 9, 1999 at 1O:00 AM
Those of you who can't attend can post questions in advance.
For more information see

MARK your calender for Dec 1, 1999 when we
will have a webcast about wind energy and rotorcraft.

Editor's Note: Grant Palmer is a computation fluid dynamicist. His work involves simulating the heat of re-entry vehicles. Read his biography at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/team/palmer.html ]


by Grant Palmer

October 29, 1999

My wife and I decided to move our family to Arizona.
I still liked my NASA job and wanted to keep doing it.
My supervisor and I worked out an arrangement where
I could telecommute.

My 4 year old son and I drove down from San Jose to
Phoenix.  Our car was mostly stuffed with my computer
equipment.  Even though we were traveling in June, we
actually got caught in a snowstorm when we were driving
over the Sierra's.  My chains, of course, were in the
back corner of my trunk and I would have had to take
all the computer stuff out to get them.  Luckily, I
went over the pass just before the Highway Patrol was
going to close the road so we made it.

I've set up one of the rooms in our house to be my office.
I couldn't bring down all of my stuff, but I brought down
quite a bit.  I have a Mac, a workstation, a printer, and
a scanner.  I filled up the closet with all of my papers.

A typical work day goes like this.  I take my children to
daycare and then come home and log in to the NASA computer
systems.  I do this by dialing in to a NASA machine with
my modem.  Once I'm connected, I can do almost everything
I used to do.  I check my computer jobs, analyze data,
sometimes I participate in teleconferences.  The only thing
that is not so good is that I was so used to the high-speed
communication lines at NASA that my 56K modem seems really

I really like telecommuting and hope I can keep doing it.
The initial deal was for six months.  I'm trying to get
an extension right now, so I can keep contributing to
the Space Technology programs at NASA.

[Editor's Note: Daniel S Goldin is the NASA Administrator. In his seven years as NASA's Administrator, Daniel Goldin has initiated a revolution to transform America's aeronautics and space program. He recently delivered a view of the future in his speech "Aviation Dreaming" at the World Aviation Congress in San Francisco. Read his biography at http://www.nasa.gov/bios/dan_goldin.html ]


by Daniel S. Goldin

October 19, 1999

...In a few decades - with aggressive, visionary, and bold investments --
we could put together all the technical achievements in safety, noise,
emissions,  capacity, cost, and revolutionary designs.  We could produce a
seamless transportation system with tremendous "doorstep to destination"

What might such a system look like?  Let me take you on a little journey.
A husband and wife and their two children are headed home to Pigeon Forge,
Tennessee--in the heart of the Smokey Mountains--after taking their oldest
daughter to Chico, California, where she is starting college.

The wife is a military aircraft design engineer for a West Coast firm.
Next-generation fully immersive collaborative computer environment
technologies, like NASA's Intelligent Synthesis Environment (ISE),
let her work with the design team even though they live thousands of miles

This family came into the San Francisco Airport from Chico on a new Runway
Independent Aircraft, an advanced version of the V22 Tiltrotor.  They were
a little disappointed, because they really wanted to try out the new STOVL
aircraft just completing certification.  It has morphing, mission-adaptive
wings, derived from technologies NASA began working on back in 1999.

At SFO, they board a modern, quiet, low emission transport aircraft that
has just completed a self-check of its structures and flight systems
and certified itself "ready to fly" by using its integrated vehicle health
management system.

As they push away from the gate, the fog is thick and visibility is low,
but safety is not affected and the flight will not be delayed.  The crew
is using the advanced taxiway and runway navigation and visualization
tools developed by NASA and the FAA.  A computer that efficiently manages
planes on the ground and in the air clears the pilot for takeoff.

Enroute to Chicago O'Hare, the family uses the integrated communication
system to confirm their rental jet.  They are looking forward to the
one-hour shuttle jet ride to Pigeon Forge because they can stop in
Kentucky to see relatives if they want.  They have that luxury, because
their door-step-to-destination time has been cut by a factor of four.

In Chicago, they get off the plane . . . and follow the signs to the Hertz
Rent-A-Jet counter.

The family confidently boards their rental jet . . . the days when General
Aviation airplanes were a factor of 10 less safe than scheduled airplanes
have long passed.

In fact, they pre-flew this trip during the flight to Chicago, using their
laptop.  The simulation included real-time updates, optimized route
planning, and it assures the family's safety when they make the actual

The trip is surprisingly inexpensive.

As a matter of fact, thanks to the advances we spoke about earlier, the
price of all airplanes has come down dramatically.

Both the husband and wife can fly . . . because years ago, their employers
saw the advantage of personal air transportation to business . . . and
knew that with personal air travel they could accomplish in one day what
used to take 3 or 4 days back in 1999.

Their middle child is 15.  Next year he will enroll in "Flyer's Ed" at

The rental jet is equipped with intelligent avionics . . . and the family
cannot even fathom that there was a time when people didn't have
real-time, on-board assessment of aircraft health, local atmospheric
conditions, artificial vision, and air traffic.  They pity pilots in the
"aviation Middle-Ages" -- the 1990's.

In 2020, controlled flight into terrain and weather hazards are no longer
major causes of accidents, and general aviation will never again take a
back seat in safety.

Unlike the old days in 1999, the pilot's route is nearly a straight line
because of the Free Flight capabilities developed by NASA and the FAA.
The "Smart Airport" system provides excellent separation and sequencing of
aircraft, even without control towers or radar, and an "Airborne
Internet" provides real-time weather, traffic, and landing facility data.
With these new systems pilots avoid constant flight path re-vectoring--
saving fuel and time, while increasing safety and reliability.

The plane slips quietly and cleanly through the air.  It is much quieter
outside the plane and inside the plane for passenger comfort.  Engines
are quieter, and smart airframe and interior wall structures actively
cancel out most of the noise that would otherwise be heard and felt
in the cabin, eliminating travel-induced fatigue.

The plane's 3-D, multi-media communications environment allows them to
virtually visit their Kentucky relatives.  During the conversation, they
smell the turkey cooking and are invited to stop for dinner. They leave
their rental jet at a  small unattended "Smart Airport" in eastern
Kentucky where their relatives are waiting to pick them up.

After dinner with their relatives, the family takes a cab to the airport.
And after a short plane ride to Pigeon Forge, they are home in time for

A bold vision?  Sure.

Can we get there?  Absolutely.

We just have to work together with the same goal in mind--air flight
anywhere, anytime, by anyone.  With increased safety and increased
reliability, even as capacity skyrockets.

That will enhance people's quality of life and it will energize the
aviation industry like nothing ever has.

The full text is available at

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