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ATO #99 - March 3, 2000

PART 1: Upcoming Chats
PART 2: Project News
PART 3: Design, Redesign and Detective Work


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

Tuesday, March 7, 2000, 10-11 AM Pacific
Aerospace Team Online QuestChat with Brent Nowlin

Brent Nowlin is responsible for making sure medium and large-scale gas
turbine engines function Properly
Read his biography at http://quest.nasa.gov/aero/team/nowlin.html

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Tuesday, March 14, 2000, 10 AM - 11 AM Pacific
Aerospace Team Online QuestChat with Roxana Greenman

Roxana Greenman is currently designing applications for aviation. She is
developing computerized feedback systems which use artificial
intelligence. The feedback systems will be used to provide
information for aircraft autopilot systems. Read her bio at

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Tuesday March 21, 2000, 9-10 AM PST
Aerospace Team Online  Regimes of Flight Chat with Leslie Ringo
Leslie Ringo is one of the engineers responsible for ensuring the
Vertical Motion Simulator responds exactly as a real aircraft would in the
air. Read her bio at

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Tuesday, March 28, 2000, 10-11 AM PST
Aerospace Team Online QuestChat with Mary Reveley

Mary works with a propulsion systems analysis group to determine how
aircraft and engine designs will perform. Read her bio at


"Regimes of Flight"

The new revised Regimes of Flight curriculum pdf files (Adobe Acrobat)
 are online now. Don't miss this supplemental guide for grades 4-8.

Learn about the speed of sound, the force of thrust, an how the first
pilot broke the sound barrier.

For more information see

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Earl Duque has published some of his research on Air Foil Stalls. His
pages are still evolving.

Visit: http://quest.nasa.gov/aero/team/fjournals/duque/

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Design a New Aircraft CONTEST!!!

Regimes of Flight Design a New Aircraft Contest, Grades 4-8
March 3 - April 14, 2000
Choose one regime of flight: low, medium, high, supersonic, or hypersonic.
design an new aircraft for the regime you pick!
For more information: go to

[Editors note: Brent Nowlin is an electrical operations engineer. He is responsible for maintaining, running and installing equipment in turbine engine test facilities. Read his bio at http://quest.nasa.gov/aero/team/nowlin.html ]


By Brent Nowlin

February 24, 2000

Currently I am working on three projects, which are in
different stages of their lifespan.

The first project I am working on is something that does not
even exist now and won't exist for a couple years. I am
helping to engineer plans for a new turbine testing facility
that will be used to test large turbine sections from turbine
engines. A turbine is a machine that takes the energy of
moving air and converts the energy to turn a shaft, like a
windmill. This testing facility will be built in a room that is
about size of a school gym.

In this facility, one of the innovations we are planning is to
capture or absorb the power generated by the turbine
engines being tested. We will give this energy back to the
electric company in the form of power for the electrical   
The turbines are only about 90% efficient at this point.
There is always some energy loss that is impossible to

We hope that this new facility will be available in 3-4 years.

The second project I am working on involves upgrading or  
remodeling the compressor rig facility. A compressor is the
opposite of a turbine. You can think of a compressor as a    
fan, or a machine that coverts shaft power into the energy
of moving (compressed) air.

The compressor rig had been mothballed, because no one
was using it. Since it was last used, there have been many
changes in the technology. The new equipment requires
changes to the mechanical and electrical systems and to the
computer programs. The goal is to make the compressor     
section of a turbine engine more efficient, but it has proven
to be a real challenge.

So far, we have completed the skeleton of the remodeled
facility. This was a challenge in part because we did not
have all of the exact requirements. The way I resolved this
was to estimate the number of things that will be needed, 
and will modify the systems as the requirements are more

Detective Work:
The third project I am working on is to keep an exiting test
facility operational. This involves making adjustments for
individual test requirements, fixing things and routine safety

This is like detective work, sometimes we call it trouble 
shooting. When something breaks, for example, we might  
not know why it stopped working. Then we use the
scientific method. We make a hypothesis about what caused
the problem and then we test our theory to see if it is
correct. Sometimes our hypothesis is wrong, and it turns out
to be a good thing. For example the part that need replacing
may be a cheaper part than what we originally imagined.

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