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Meet: Betty Silva

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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.

Future Plans
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.

Credits and Contacts


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