My Day Job
Oh! How it is nice to enjoy what I am paid for!
Working for the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright Patterson AFB, OH has been one of the best assignments I have ever had.
What makes it really special is the group of people I get to interact with as we discover new ways of preventing human error in the aviation environment.
The tools I have to work with are also really nice. They are not always the most up to date, but we keep them clean between uses and are good at making sure they are used to their full advantage.
Two examples are the metal lathe
And the milling machine
With which we make small parts for our experiments.
We also have a large machine which we use nearly every day to produce research. To explain it, I need to show you some of the parts. Let's start with saying that the machine uses a hydrostatic bearing. These are some of the vane pumps which keep the bearing at pressure.
It uses more electricity than the milling machine I showed you in the previous picture. And the electricity needs to be supplied in direct current. These are the motor-generator sets which supply the electricity we use.
The motors are quite large. The machine uses three of them, each producing over 700 HP. Here is one of them with it's gear box:
We control the machine from a control room.
We have a meeting every morning in the room to talk about the day's experiments.
This is the seat I sit in, with the displays I get to look at:
Here is more detail of the controls. You see, I am a doctor, and it is my responsibility to make sure we do not hurt anyone who participates in our experiments.
Before a subject begins an experiment, we check them to make sure they are healthy. This is our exam room:
Here is one of the subjects ready for an experiment:
We use both guys and gals to collect information about flying air force aircraft. One of the areas we have been looking at this year is the effect of flying on color vision.
The way we collect information is to make the experimental subject go round and round in the device which is connected to all the equipment I described above. It is a human centrifuge with a 20 foot radius called the Dynamic Environment Simulator or DES.
It is controlled by a machine operator
And by a test director.
The whole time we run the DES we are proud to remember we work for the Air Force Research Laboratory
And for the United States of America.
All in all, the day job is pretty sweet!