Meet: Betty Silva
Project Manager, Data Acquisition
NASA Ames Research Center
Who I Am
I am the Project Manager for the wind tunnel data acquisition and data
analysis system for the National Full-Scale Aerodynamic Facility Complex
(NFAC). This complex includes the 40- by 80-Foot Wind Tunnel where the
Wright Flyer test will be conducted. I manage a group of software engineers,
system engineers and hardware engineers. Our job for the Wright Flyer
is to gather tunnel condition data, process the data and provide the real-time
displays. The real-time displays monitor time critical parameters such
as tunnel velocity, angle of attack of the model and loads on the model.
My Career Path
I attended San Jose State University and received a BA in Mathematics
in 1977. During the 70's, the Computer Science Department did not exist.
I took a few computer classes in the Electrical Engineer department. I
learned most of my computer skills at NASA Ames.
I have worked at NASA Ames Research Center for about
23 years. My career began working with keypunch machine, card readers,
paper tapes and Fortran programming language. Today, we work with highspeed
network, gigabyte disks and C / C++ programming languages. It's exciting
to see how technology has developed and evolved. School is not over for
us. We continue to take classes and attend conferences to keep up with
the changing technologies.
Why I like my Job
The best part of the job is being part of a test team for a wind tunnel
test. I have worked on the E-7 projects, Pratt &Whitney engine projects
and several rotor tests. There are ups and downs during the test. The
software may not work as you had planned. The hardware may break down.
However, when a test completes successfully, I feel very satisfied that
we've done an excellent job and met the test objectives. The worst part
of the job is when something goes wrong and everyone is standing around,
waiting for you to fix the problem.
I am married. My husband is the Facility Instrumentation Engineer at the
NFAC. He is responsible for the facility instrumentation at the 40- by
80-Foot Wind Tunnel and the 80- by 120-Foot Wind Tunnel. We work very
closely together. Any changes he makes, the data systems must respond.
We have two children. We have a sixteen years old son who is attending
Sunnyvale's Fremont High School. We have a twelve years old daughter who
is attending Collins Elementary School in Cupertino.
My future plan is continue to stay with my wind tunnel family at NASA
Ames. Since I am not an aerodynamicist, I am always amazed the new ideas
the aerodynamicts come up with. In my job, I work with wide variety projects
and meet many people. I am never bored.