Archive for April, 2007

20070428 Flight Status

Monday, April 30th, 2007

From Bob Wells:

There was an early start for Saturday’s flight B288 with the NASA WB57 but conditions were good with clear skies over Oklahoma for the METOP satellite pass. All instruments and 10 sondes worked well and there are high hopes of good validation data from both aircraft. The 146 operated at higher levels (FL330) than originally planned and as a result a refueling stop at Oklahoma City was needed. The total flying time for the day was 6h 44m.

However, the spectacular result of the flight was the chance observation of the Wynnewood Oil Refinery fire (see attached photos and e.g. Measurements (in particular those of AMS and PSAP) were made in the plume and will hopefully provide very interesting comparison with observations made of the Buncefield pollution.

The SATCOM link continues to present major communication problems. Stratos have escalated the phone problem to supervisor level but the supervisor does not work at weekends. The e-mail and position report problem appears to lie at the Met Office but, despite Jon Taylor’s best efforts, no communication to the aircraft has been possible.

Another flight with the WB57  for METOP and AQUA passes over the Gulf of Mexico is planned for Sunday. The FAAM BAe146 will refuel at Lafayette, Louisiana.

OK fire

20070427 Flight Status #2

Monday, April 30th, 2007

From Bob Wells:
The flight  with the WB57 to underfly both AQUA and METOP in Oklahoma was reasonably successful.  There was more cloud than hoped for and a large thunderstorm had to be avoided but most instruments worked well. There was some loss of TWC data (pre-flighter/operator misunderstanding) and one of the 13 dropsondes misperformed.

Gaynor’s hopes of a wild last night in Houston were dashed when an early (0815L)take-off  on Saturday was called and most of the team retired early.

JAVIEx WB-57 flight schedule

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

The current WB-57 schedule for the remainder of the JAVIEx deployment:

Sat Apr 28 2007
CART site
- forecasted clear skies over CART site
- same waypoints as Friday’s flight with a tight racetrack at the CART site
- 90 nautical mile legs for racetrack pattern
- 0845 AM CDT takeoff
- 0445 AM CDT hands on

Sun Apr 29 2007
Gulf of Mexico
- forecasted clear skies over Gulf of Mexico
- 0945 AM CDT takeoff
- 0545 AM CDT hands on

Mon Apr 30 2007
- no flight

Tue May 1 2007
- METOP flight track not optimum for underpass
- Considering an aircraft intercomparison themed flight with an off-track underpass of METOP over the Gulf of Mexico
- AQUA is in the western GOM at 1400 CDT

Wed May 2 2007
- Flight

Thu May 3 2007
- Flight

Fri May 4 2007
- Flight

A clear sky zenith view intercomparison of S-HIS and ARIES will be attempted onsite if conditions allow. Dan LaPorte / Bob Knuteson / Steve Dutcher will coordinate with Stuart Newman. A post experiment comparison between S-HIS and NAST-I should allow us to effectively compare all 3 instruments in detail.

- S-HIS in pod with EGSE
- S-HIS on tarmac near hangar
- scene mirror programmed for 3-view (HBB, ABB, Zenith) or 4-view (HBB, ABB, Zenith, and Nadir)
- Place NAST-I ice bath blackbody in Nadir view????

- ARIES in Bae146
- on aircraft power
- on tarmac at Southwest services


20070427 Flight Status

Friday, April 27th, 2007
From Bob Wells (FAAM BAE Operations Manager)
An easy no-fly day for most. An Oklahoma METOP and AQUA pass flight (no refuel) was planned for Friday.

Jonathan Taylor and Chawn Taylor left Houston. Stuart Newman is now leading the FAAM science team.

2 New S-HIS QC Quicklook Pages: Quality Check of Distributed netCDF Radiances and Calibration Reference Views

Friday, April 27th, 2007

Two new data quality check pages have been added to the JAVIEX S-HIS quicklooks.

An example of the first quality check page is available at:

The link to the page appears in the left frame of the S-HIS mission homepage ( and is labeled ‘Netcdf Quality Check Plots’.

The page contains 5 plots. The plots are intended to indicate whether questionable calibrated radiances are being included in the distributed science product. Questionable radiances are identified using the imaginary part of the calibrated radiance. Significant spectral dependence in the imaginary part of the calibrated radiance indicates a potential problem with the radiometric calibration of that radiance.

Plot # : Description

1: Questionable LW Earth radiances included in the distributed data (LW Real and LW Imag)
2: Questionable MW Earth radiances included in the distributed data (MW Real and MW Imag)
3: Questionable SW Earth radiances included in the distributed data (SW Real and SW Imag)
4: Mean Real Radiance timeseries (wavenumber ranges indicated in title of each subplot)
5: Mean Imag Radiance timeseries. This mean is used to index questionable calibrated radiances (wavenumber ranges indicated in title of each subplot)

For a nominal flight, plots 1, 2, and 3 are empty plots, and no points in the timeseries plots (4 and 5) are marked with red circles. For our extremely high vibration flights on 070416 and 070419 it is evident that the vibration effects have caused problems with some of the radiances that our processing software marks as in ‘good’ segments. There is a similar issue with bad blackbody reference views being marked as good for these days as well as evidenced by the checkerboarding in the BT plot:

The second new web page is a quality check of blackbody radiances included in the calibration pipeline.

A sample of the data quality check page for the Calibration views is available at:

The link for this page will appear in the left frame and is labeled ‘Cal Ref Quality Check Plots’

Again, for a typical flight, our calibration pipeline will not include any bad calibration radiances in the process. From the quality check plots, it is obvious that the high vibrations associated with the sh070416 and sh070419 flights have caused issues with the quality checks within the pipeline.

20070427 IASI Update

Friday, April 27th, 2007
 From Peter Schluessel (IASI Senior Scientist)
IASI has been switched back to normal operation mode at the last
Svalbard overpass at 7:45 UTC.

My best wishes for successful underflights later today.

20070426 Flight Status

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

From Bob Wells (FAAM BAE Flight Operations Manager)

The highlight of the day was the unexpected and very good news circulated by Peter that IASI instrument is now expected to be working again on Friday 27th.

The bad news was that the weather caused the cancellation of the proposed science flight. Further, following a lighning alert at the airfield, Directflight considered that the aircraft was at risk of damage from a storm as it passed Ellington Field and, in the absence of any request for science data, made a crew-only ‘escape’ flight of just under 3 hours.

No flying on Thursday.

From Bill Smith (WB-57 NAST-I/S-HIS Scientist):

Flight Opportunities for Next Week:

29 Apr (Sun Night): 1930 takeoff, Central Gulf underflight of MetOp at 2205 (0305 UTC). (Will not be flown if Sunday-day mission flies)


30 Apr (Mon Night): 1900 takeoff, Eastern Gulf underflight of MetOp at ~2145 (0245 UTC)


1 May (Tue Day: 0915 takeoff, CART-site underflight of MetOp at 1147 (1647 UTC).) (Will not be flown if Monday-night mission flies.)

2 May (Wed-Day) 1015 takeoff, CART- underflight of MetOp at 1126 (1626 UTC) and Aqua at 1452 (1952 UTC).


2 May (Wed-Night) 2015 takeoff, Gulf- underflight of MetOp at 2242 (0342 UTC) and Aqua at 0256 (0756 UTC) or CART-Site underflight of MetOp at 2245 (0345 UTC) (Will not be flown if Wed-day mission flies).

3 May (Thur-Day) 0845 takeoff, Gulf underflight of MetOp at 1107 (1607 UTC). (Will not be flown if Wed-night mission flies).


3 May (Thur-Night) 2030 takeoff, CART-site underflight of MetOp at 2224 (0324 UTC). (Will not be flown if Thur-day mission flies.)

4 May (Fri-Day) 0945 takeoff, Gulf underflight of MetOp at 1047 (1547 UTC) and Aqua at 1437 (1937UTC). (Will not be flown if Thur-night mission flies.)

20070425 Flight Status

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

From Bob Wells (FAAM BAE Flight Operations Manager)

B286, a night flight with the WB57 over the Gulf started the day. This underflew the A-Train (AQUA, CALYPSO and CLOUDSAT satellite formation) in broken cloud conditions. The cirrus was above 35000feet so the BAE146 could not get in situ data.

The rest of the day was spent recovering from nocturnal activity and planning a FAAM (only) daytime flight for Wednesday for the Gulf of Mexico AQUA pass.

20070423 Flight Status

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

From Bob Wells (FAAM BAE Flight Operations Manager)

The disappointment over the problems with METOP (IASI is now expected to return to operation late on Monday 30th April) have been counterbalanced by some excellent results from the first flight. Raw radiances and retrieved values have generally compared very well indeed.

Tuesday’s flight (takes off 2320L Monday) in conjunction with the WB57 is targetting cloud observations under an A-train overpass (AQUA, CLOUDSAT and CALYPSO satellites).

A daytime AQUA flight, including a WB57 wing-tip to wing-tip (the WB57 has very long wings) intercomparison, has been pencilled in for Wednesday but current forecasts make this look unlikely to go ahead.

From Bill Smith (WB-57 NAST-I/S-HIS Scientist):

Below is a report that EUMETSAT issued on their web-page earlier today. We will discuss what strategy we should follow for this weeks flights, in view of the MetOp situation, at 2:00 PM today . Your input is appreciated.

We are flying an A-train cloud mission tonight (i.e.,early tomorrow). We will be under-flying the Calypso/CloudSat track (180 nm) until overpass time after which we will fly a rectangular area (100 nm segments) surrounding the A-train ground tracks. BAe-146 will be providing dropsondes, plus other in-situ and radiometric data, along all flight segments. Weather looks good for this cloud mission.

April 23, 2007
Switch-off of Metop-A Payload Module
On Friday 20/4/2007 at 10:14 UTC (12:14 Local), the Metop-A satellite experienced a total switch-off of the Payload Module for no apparent reason. This occurred during a routine Svalbard pass, therefore in visibility.

The root cause triggering this event is not known at time of writing, but the analysis of the available telemetry by the experts seems to point towards a software problem in the Payload Module Computer (PMC) software. The status of all instruments on-board Metop-A was assessed and their safe condition confirmed by the experts.

As a consequence of this payload switch-off, the dissemination of Metop-A products was halted after the last valid orbit. The operational users were informed immediately of the service interruption.

The PMC software was analysed in the mean time and the go-ahead for the restart of the Payload Module Computer software was given. This restart is scheduled for the 23 April a.m. The instruments would then be progressively switched back on in the coming days, as soon as possible.

20070422 Flight Status

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

From Bill Smith (WB-57 NAST-I/S-HIS Scientist)

WB-57 Flight Schedule

23 Apr (Mon/Tue Night) 0030 takeoff (30 minutes into tuesday), Gulf underflight of Aqua at ~3 AM LDT (0800 UTC)

24 Apr (Tue) No flight

25 Apr (Wed-Day) 1215 takeoff, CART-site or Gulf underflight of Aqua at ~2:45PM LDT (19:45 UTC)

26 Apr (Thu) No flight

27 Apr (Fri-Day) 1015 takeoff, CART-site with underflight of MetOp at ~11:30 LST (16:30 UTC) and underflight of Aqua at ~2:30 LDT (19:30 UTC)

28 Apr (Sat-Day) 0840 takeoff CART-site or Gulf (preferred, but weather dependent) underflight of MetOp at ~11:10 CDT (16:10 UTC)

29 Apr (Sun-Day) 0945 takeoff Gulf underflight of MetOp at 10:50 AM (15:50 UTC) and underflight of Aqua at 2:20 PM (19:20 UTC)