Author Archive

JAIVEX Conclusion Notes:

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

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

Thank you Jon for saying it so well.

JAIVEx is a complete success. Today, the last flight of JAIVEx took place. The airborne mission was to underfly both MetOp and Aqua over the same track over the Gulf of Mexico. This mission also included, during the time between the MetOp and Aqua orbits, an intercomparison of the Interferometers and Microwave sensors on the BAe-146 and WB-57 flying along the same track, at the same altitude and nearly the “same” time. All indications are that this final JAIVEx mission was a total success, and the weather cooperated (i.e., clear skies over the ocean target area). What a finale to a great mission!

The aircraft and ground-based (CART-site) science data sets obtained during JAVEx in conjunction with the MetOp and A-train overpasses will be used for many years to come to understand and advance the state of the art of surface and atmospheric remote sensing. There is more coordinated satellite and airborne hyperspectral surface and atmospheric remote sensing data in the JAIVEx data set than ever collected before. We need to validate and make these data available to our students and colleagues, as soon as practical for it contains an enormous amount of thesis and journal publication material. We all look forward to analyzing the JAIVEx data and seeing each other’s results during the months ahead.

The JAIVEx success is the result of the generous cooperation and contributions of the many individuals and institutions, on both sides of the Atlantic, who participated in it.

JAIVEx turned out to be absolutely spectacular!

Thanks to all …………..


From Jon Taylor (AIRES PI)

I wanted to thank everyone involved in the JAIVEX campaign for their hard work and dedication. Despite some early problems with IASI Eumetsat and CNES came up trumps with returning Metop to nominal operations and we have between us gathered an extremely useful data set for validation not only of IASI but also several other instruments on the Metop satellite.

The initial results are extremely encouraging and really show the potential for validation of satellite instruments using two state of the art research aircraft.

I look forward to working with you in the analysis of the data over the coming months and look forward to showing our data to the international community at the Joint AMS/Eumetsat conference in Amsterdam this coming September. It looks like we will have a busy summer of work ahead of us.

Thanks to you all,

Jon Taylor.

20070503 Flight Status

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

From Bob Wells:

Texas was the subject of multiple severe weather warnings and a major storm hit Houston early in the morning. Shortly after 3am the early shift had difficulty driving to the airport through heavy rain and hail. A dead bird on the tarmac provided evidence of bird strike while parked (a first ?) and later it was discovered that the science exhaust pipes had filled with water. No evacuation flight had been set up so it was a great relief to find the aircraft undamaged.

However, the wet conditions caused the WB57 to postpone their potential take-off time beyond the 146 NOTAM so, after some discussion, the day’s flights had to be cancelled.

Two flights have been planned for the final day of detachment flying - a 5.5-hour- double-satellite-pass-with-WB57-intercomparison-over-the-Gulf-of-Mexico-sortie in the morning followed by a short Houston Plume expedition in the evening.

The absence of any further reports from Houston may be interpreted as an excellent conclusion to a successful detachment.

Many thanks to all those who made this possible.+

20070502 Flight Status

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

From Allen Larar:

Here is the input for our desired flight tomorrow (Thursday, 3 May).

Objective: Daytime flight over north-western GOM, underflying the
Metop (1107 local) satellite overpass and coordinating same-altitude flight legs with the BAe 146.

Schedule (all times local):
0415 Hands-on (note that back-seat switch control
0515 Hands-off needed for instrument pre-flight ops)
0545 Pre-flight brief (Southwest Services)
0545 Tow-out
0845 Takeoff

Way Points:

A: 27 deg 45.0 min N, 94 deg 10.00 min W
B: 25 deg 30.0 min N, 92 deg 45.00 min W

Flight Plan:

E -> A -> B -> A. Continue running line back and forth at select altitudes and times to coordinate with the BAe 146 and Metop satellite overpass.

Nominal flight timeline is:
0845 takeoff
0915 FL280 (verify altitude with BAe begin coordinated A -> B -> A legs with BAe 146 at FL280
1030 end FL280 coordinated runs; begin climb to max Z (> FL550)
1045 maintain level flight at FL550
1100 begin back and forth runs of line A-B (either direction)
(Metop satellite overpass at begin descent to FL320 (verify altitude with BAe maintain level flight at FL320
1210 begin coordinated A -> B -> A legs with BAe 146 at FL320
1300 end FL320 coordination; RTB


Legs coordinated with BAe 146 would nominally run same A-B line, at same altitude, with needed time separation; specifics to be discussed at pre-flight brief.

S-HIS descent mode switch should be activated upon descent from FL320, i.e. *after* final coordinated leg with BAe 146.

Mission abort conditions: we require either NAST-I or S-HIS
to be operating nominally for mission continuation, so if both
fail (and are unable to be re-booted via checklist procedures)
then mission should be aborted. Instrument teams will monitor radio
communication until after all sensors are operational, then
can be reached via cell phone during flight.

Two issues of concern for implementation of this flight that are still TBD: 1) pilot availability, and 2) local weather.

See you at 0545 tomorrow AM at Southwest Services for the pre-flight brief.
From Bob Wells:

Wednesday was another long successful day for the JAIVEX campaign with observations above low cloud by both the WB57 and the 146 of the METOP pass near the Oklahoma ARM site. The 146 refuelled at Oklahoma City and added 6hrs 43 mins and 10 dropsondes to the campaign totals which now stand at 60.9 Flying Hours from Houston and 104 sondes.

Another early start is planned for Thursday (Aircraft Power 3:45am, Take-Off 7:45am)
for a sortie over the Gulf. It proved impossible to set up a wing-tip to wing-tip intercomparison of the two aircraft above FL180 along the METOP track so the WB47 will follow the 146 with 5 minutes separation.

20070501 Flight Status

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007

From Bob Wells:

In view of sub-satellite track locations and weather conditions Tuesday was declared a no-fly day. The WB57 scientists kindly arranged a most interesting tour of the NASA aircraft and pressure suit facility. A Vomit Comet and a team of Michigan University students with zero-g experiments were using the same hanger as the WB57.

Dave Tiddeman reported that the problem with aircraft e-mail had finally been traced to a change in the Met Office system last week and it is fervently hoped that these communications and position reports will be restored for Wednesday’s flight to observe during the METOP and AQUA passes over the Oklahoma ARM site.
Here is the input for our desired flight tomorrow.

From Allen Larar (WB-57 NAST-I scientist)

Objective: Daytime flight over OK (CART site region) to
underfly both Metop (1126 local) and Aqua (1452 local) satellites.

Takeoff: 1015 local (Note that + 10 mins might be necessary to ensure
flight duration needed to cover both satellites; one hour has
been sufficient to get to this area in previous flights.)

Pre-flight brief: 0715 local (Southwest Services)

Instrument hands-on: 0545 local
hands-off: 0645 local

Tow out: 0715 local

Way Points:

A: 35 deg 35.0 min N, 97 deg 29.10 min W
B: 37 deg 35.0 min N, 97 deg 29.10 min W
C: 37 deg 35.0 min N, 97 deg 35.50 min W
D: 35 deg 35.0 min N, 97 deg 35.50 min W

Flight Plan: E -> A -> B -> C -> D -> A. Continue
same race track pattern for target scene duration, i.e.
until time to RTB.

Constraints: maintain constant altitude during racetrack pattern;
be on racetrack pattern during both satellite overpass events
(i.e., 1126 and 1452 local); try to minimize a/c pitch angles.

Mission abort conditions: we require either NAST-I or S-HIS
to be operating nominally for mission continuation, so if both
fail (and are unable to be re-booted via checklist procedures)
then mission should be aborted. Instrument teams will monitor radio
communication until after all sensors are operational, then
can be reached via cell phone during flight.

Any needed mods to the plan above will be communicated at the morning
brief, i.e. associated with any changes with latest weather
observations/forecast and BAe 146 plans.

See you in the AM at Southwest Services.

Flight Status 20070430

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007

From Bob Wells:

Ultimately Flight B290 on Monday was very successful with measurements made by both the FAAM BAE146 and the NASA WB57 in clear sky conditions on the METOP pass over the Gulf of Mexico. The effort to make an early take-off (aircraft power from 3:30am) was thwarted by Air Traffic who had failed to register a flight plan from the
unnumbered METMAN. This caused a delay of nearly half-an-hour but by making a high speed transit and a small reduction in sub-satellite path length very little science data was lost. For the remainder of the detachment the call sign of G-LUXE will be declared as METMAN 1 (cf AIR FORCE 1) which we hope will give us more credibility.

All FAAM aircraft instruments (except the SATCOM ) worked well and the WB57 team reported a successful mission although they were limited to a truncated pilot-training sortie.

The 146 made a refuelling stop in New Orleans and this time a reliable GPU was (eventually) obtained. However, the fine sight which had so excited Capt Foster on the previous visit was nowhere to be seen.

While most of the team were away flying, the crew from an Air Force Hercules which had been parked near the 146 identified themselves as the Hurricane Hunters and warmly welcomed inspection of their aircraft and AVAPS equipment.

Flight Status 20070429

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007

From Bob Wells:

The aircraft was dirty with oil and insects after Saturday’s flight but had a good clean before Sunday’s sortie (except for the forward facing camera which could not be reached until Sunday evening).

Flight B289 on Sunday over the Gulf of Mexico was very successful. The WB 57 flew directly over the 146 during the METOP overpass in clear skies and all instruments worked well.  There was insufficient fuel available to stay on station for the AQUA overpass but measurements were made just a few minutes in advance of this.

Doug Anderson broke the FAAM sondes/flight record by dropping a grand total of 21.
This brings the number of sondes dropped during JAIVEX to 82  and the number of hours flown from Houston to 48.5.

An early start is needed for Monday’s flight in the Eastern Gulf (with a refuelling stop at New Orleans).  Power on at 3:30am, Take-Off 7:30am.

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.

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.

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.