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For Release: Dec. 11, 1997

RELEASE NO. 97-132

NASA LANGLEY STORY OPPORTUNITIES - DECEMBER 1997

DESIGN IT, BUILD IT, FLY IT.A team of students from four Kansas universities has won the "Design It, Build It, Fly It" award in the National General Aviation Design Competition, a first-of-its-kind competition sponsored by NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Air Force and the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). The team received a $10,000 award in a ceremony held at Wichita State University on Dec. 9. The universities are University of Kansas, Lawrence; Wichita State University, Wichita; Kansas State University, Manhattan; and Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kan. The competition seeks to involve students at U.S. engineering universities in a national effort to rebuild the U.S. general aviation sector through design efforts that meet general aviation revitalization goals. Interviews and an aircraft wireframe computer graphic are available.
Public Affairs Contact: Keith Henry (757) 864-6120; h.k.henry@larc.nasa.gov

TAMING STORMY WEATHER. A NASA-developed system that can provide pilots with up-to-date and easy-to-use weather information is nearing the end of a six-month in-service evaluation. Under NASA Langley contract, a Boeing-led team is evaluating potential cost savings of the system as it flies on a regularly-scheduled United Airlines DC-10. Called Cockpit Weather Information, the system has been a hit with pilots faced with routing decisions because of the threat of bad weather ahead. With near real-time data transmitted directly to the cockpit via satellite and displayed graphically on color monitors, the system has been likened to having "an interactive mobile weather channel." Video and interviews are available.
Public Affairs Contact: Keith Henry (757) 864-6120; h.k.henry@larc.nasa.gov

I'VE LOOKED AT CLOUDS FROM BOTH SIDES NOW. On average, more than 50% of the Earth is covered by clouds at any one time. Scientists need to know how clouds trap or reflect energy, and how much and how often they do it, in order to understand what effects clouds have on our planet's climate. The Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) instrument, launched aboard the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission observatory Nov. 27, will provide long-term global data on the Earth's clouds and their effects on the Earth's energy budget. Interviews, facts sheets, video b-roll and animation are available.
Public Affairs Contact: Catherine Watson (757) 864-6122; c.e.watson@larc.nasa.gov

GENERAL AVIATION VIDEO ANIMATION AND STILLS AVAILABLE.A 90-second, 3-D video animation illustrating technologies that promise to make flying a personal airplane as easy as driving a car is available to accredited media upon request. Pitched to appeal to any viewer, the video shows a typical family taking their personal airplane to the beach for the weekend. The technologies depicted are flowing from a government-industry consortium formed to revitalize the nation's general aviation industry. The consortium, called AGATE, also aims to make flying a personal airplane affordable and safe. STILL FRAMES TOO! Also available are four, high-quality still images taken from the above-mentioned animation.
Public Affairs Contact: Keith Henry (757) 864-6120; h.k.henry@larc.nasa.gov

STUDENT RESEARCHERS AID MARS AEROBRAKING. As the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) repeatedly dips into the Martian atmosphere to slow itself down, graduate students from the George Washington University Joint Institute for Advancement of Flight Sciences at NASA Langley are helping mission engineers determine how well the aerobraking is working and what adjustments need to be made, if any, to the MGS orbit. Interviews, images and video animation are available.
Public Affairs Contact: Catherine Watson (757) 864-6122; c.e.watson@larc.nasa.gov

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Coming News:

January:The final test phase of the Students' Cloud Observations On-Line (S'COOL) project begins. Students around the world will make cloud observations that NASA Langley researchers can compare to their latest satellite instrument, the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES). There are currently 30 schools involved in the S'COOL project - 17 in the U.S. and 13 in Europe.
Public Affairs Contact: Catherine Watson (757) 864-6122; c.e.watson@larc.nasa.gov

March:Cockpit display research for a future supersonic passenger jet begins. Researchers will use several NASA Langley simulators to design the futuristic jet's cockpit - a cockpit that will have no forward facing windows.
Public Affairs Contact: Catherine Watson (757) 864-6122; c.e.watson@larc.nasa.gov

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