Activities are integrated into an aeronautics theme which challenges students to work cooperatively as a team to complete a NASA mission: plan and fly a cross-country flight from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco via the four NASA aeronautics research centers. Students are encouraged to explore careers in technology, engineering, and science through this special focus on the field of aeronautics.
- Aeronautics Interactive
Student researchers will utilize a specially designed computer program to research significant advancements in aeronautics. Later, students will use the software to gain valuable information about aerospace careers.
- Air Traffic Control
Students assigned to this workstation will develop an understanding of, and an appreciation for the nation's air traffic control system. Using a unique software program developed jointly by NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), students will learn about the tools and personnel who routinely control the nations air traffic through the seven phases of a typical flight.
- Aircraft Design Station
Researchers assigned to this station will be challenged to redesign an existing commercial jetliner. Using a computer aided design (cad) program, students will design a new aircraft that will reduce flight time, cut fuel cost and save airline passengers money on their plane tickets. Successful designs will be forwarded on to NASA for review.
- Flight Planning
Students assigned to this station will use actual flight planning software to plan the flight route and accurately calculate the distance, flight time and the amount of fuel needed to complete the proposed cross-country flight. Later, they will even log their proposed flight plan with the FAA.
- GPS/Amateur Radio Communications
Using a sophisticated amateur radio receiver and a working hand-held global positioning system (GPS), student researchers will be able to tune into actual broadcast between air traffic controllers and arriving/departing aircraft. Students will learn to read and interpret the aviation sectional charts/maps that pilots use to determine the latitude and longitude of selected airports along their cross-country flight route.
- Internet/World Wide Web
Using the Internet, student researchers at this workstation will gather important information about each of NASA's top aeronautics research facilities. These team members will also use the Internet to arrange ground transportation and to make hotel and restaurant reservations for the entire group at each stop along the flight route and also at the final destination.
- Remote Sensing
Research at this station will includes the detailed analysis of aerial and satellite photographs of the greater Cleveland area. Later, students will compare each image to a map of Northeastern Ohio to gain an in-depth understanding of the importance of remote sensing technologies.
- Vision Station Advanced Flight Simulator
Students assigned to this workstation will climb into the Vision StationT Advanced Flight Simulator (AFS) and pilot a virtual aircraft through a computer-generated environment! After carefully reviewing the flight plan, students assigned to this station will strap themselves into the cockpit of twin engine, piston-driven aircraft, thunder down the runway and climb through the powerful, shifting air currents to begin their mission. Along the way, they will interpret important flight data, search for landmarks and capture an image of the landscape rolling beneath their wings!
- Weather Forecasting
Researchers assigned to this workstation will go outside to deploy a sophisticated weather sensor to gather important data about local weather conditions. Later, they will use information gathered from a series of remote weather tracking stations around the country to monitor weather conditions across the U.S., including air pressure, temperature and wind velocity. Student researchers will even have access to up-to-the-minute satellite imagery to help them make an accurate forecast of weather conditions along the flight route.
- Wind Tunnel Control Station
Student Researchers assigned to this station have an opportunity to observe how a real wind tunnel operates and how it is used in aeronautical research.Students will perform experiments that will allow them to test the lift and stall characteristics of an airfoil mounted inside the wind tunnel. Later, using a computer simulation, they will modify the airfoil to improve its lift characteristics and to discover the factors that affect "lift".