DC-8 08/14/13

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Flight Number: 
Payload Configuration: 
Nav Data Collected: 
Total Flight Time: 
7.3 hours
Flight Segments: 
Start:08/14/13 15:41 Z Finish:08/14/13 23:00 Z
Flight Time:7.3 hours
Log Number:138301PI:Kent Shiffer
Funding Source:Hal Maring - NASA - SMD - ESD Radiation Science Program
Purpose of Flight:Science
Comments:Purpose of Flight: Science flight (boundary layer chem. & convective weather) Aircraft Status: Airworthy Sensor Status: SEAC4RS instrument payload; all instruments operated. MMS faulted three times during flight; CIT CIMS operated for half of flight. Significant Issues: None Accomplishments: Round robin flight out of Ellington Airport, TX. Initial climb to FL250 to transit east along Gulf coastline to work around convective storms north of track. Cross shoreline southwest of Mobile, AL and descend to 3000ft MSL at 1600Z. Step down to 2000ft MSL north of Mobil, AL and then climb to overfly Montgomery, AL at FL230 at 1711Z. Proceed to northwest of Muscle Shoals, AL climbing in route to FL240 and then descend to fly holding pattern at FL140 starting at 1759Z; descend to 6000ft MSL (cloud tops) in holding pattern at 1817Z, and descend to 4000ft MSL (cloud bases) at 1826Z. Proceed on track to Walnut Ridge, AR flying in boundary layer at 4000ft MSL, 2000ft MSL, & 1500ft MSL. Transition northwest to Dexter, MO 4000ft MSL to fly northeast/southwest data wall maneuver in cooperation with ER2. Initial data wall altitude was 1500ft MSL (starting at 1917Z) then 5000ft MSL, 7500ft MSL, ramp climb to FL180, followed by final run to northeast at FL180. Overfly waypoint N13 at 2027Z. Fly boundary layer profile between 2000ft MSL and 6500ft MSL while headed south towards Houston. Overfly Littlerock, AR at 2135Z. Transition around convective weather north of Houston at 10,000ft MSL. Descend and land at Ellington Airport, Houston. Takeoff time: 226 15 41 47 Landing time: 226 23 00 35
Flight Hour Summary: 
Flight Hours Approved in SOFRS187
Total Used180.6
Total Remaining6.4
138301 Flight Reports
Date Flt # Purpose of Flight Duration Running Total Hours Remaining Miles Flown
08/02/13 - 08/03/13130602Check4.15.9181.1
08/06/13 - 08/07/13130604Science8.719.6167.4
08/08/13 - 08/09/13130605Science7.827.4159.6
08/26/13 - 08/27/13130612Science7.782.6104.4
08/27/13 - 08/28/13130613Science8.791.395.7
08/30/13 - 08/31/13130614Science7.999.287.8
09/21/13 - 09/22/13130623Science9.1173.113.9
09/23/13 - 09/24/13130624Transit7.5180.66.4

Flight Reports began being entered into this system as of 2012 flights. If there were flights flown under an earlier log number the flight reports are not available online.

Related Science Report: 

SEAC4RS - DC-8 08/14/13 Science Report

Mission Summary: 

DC-8 14 Aug 13 SE US chemistry/long range smoke

Our primary objective during this flight was to survey SE chemistry (biogenics in high and low NOx regions.  We also targeted streamers of wild fire smoke transported from Idaho at three different parts of the flight.  ER-2 flight on same day targeted NAM circulation, but we did plan to rendezvous with them to sample a wall under rosette near Mingo, MO; one of the locations forecast to intercept the smoke from Idaho.


Planned ground track included low altitude sampling from southern LA across MS and AL to a point just west of Atlanta, GA, followed by another low altitude transect across northern AL and southern TN to the location of the wall under ER-2 near the AK/MO border.  After the wall near AERONET site at Mingo we intended to fly north and west across the Ozarks to set up another low altitude leg crossing over all of AR from north to south before ascending to return to Ellington.


The plan called for us to delay in western AL during the initial eastbound leg to perform a “parking garage” ascent that was forecast to possibly intercept smoke.  A similar delay to sample smoke was planned for the southbound leg over AR near the end of flight. 

Before we even took off, the forecast team alerted us that the location of the first parking garage was under a line of convection, and asked us to move it close to the AERONET site in Huntsville.


Our departure routing (from ATC) was more southerly than planned, placing us south of a line of weak convection and stratiform clouds that covered most of the planned first leg.  We tried to conduct low-level sampling over the Gulf of Mexico and coastal LA while searching for a path to get through the clouds and onto the planned track.  This did not prove possible, so we ascended and told DC-8 crew to get across the storms and onto track somewhere along the west bound leg from Atlanta to Mingo.  Pilots flew all the way to Atlanta south of planned track and rejoined our intended route at that point (Fig. 1).  On the plus side, APR2 and SPEC got a lot of cloud and precipitation data that was not anticipated.


We got west of the storms not far past Atlanta and performed the low altitude sampling planned.  Near Huntsville we ascended to 24 kft to set up the parking garage pattern just west of the AERONET site.  After the initial HSRL leg to pick the altitudes for lower levels, we flew 2-minute long legs along the same ground track at 14 kft in the middle of the Idaho smoke plume, 6 kft just above the BL, and a final leg at 4 kft in BL.  We then proceeded to the ER-2 rendezvous point at low level (alternating between BL and just above).  ER-2 arrived more than 10 minutes early, DC-8 arrived 6 minutes late, so we began our first north bound leg in the BL at about the same time ER-2 was finishing the first spoke of the rosette.  HSRL observed a strong smoke layer at about 14-15 kft during this first leg of the wall and during our return pass at the top of BL (5 kft).  We planned to ramp up to 14 kft as our 3rd leg to return southbound  in the smoke for leg 4, but HSRL noted that the plume had advected south of the southern end point of the wall.  So, we flew back to the north at 7 kft in  a weaker smoke streamer, then ramped up to 18 kft on the fourth (second southbound) leg to set up a final leg to acquire nadir curtain with HSRL.


During this time the forecast group advised that WX might be a problem for landing at Ellington, and called the ER-2 back to base after the second spoke of the rosette pattern.  It was decided that the DC-8 should continue NW over the Ozarks to set up the low-level sampling across AR, but that we would not attempt the second parking garage in order to keep fuel in reserve if we had to delay before landing at Ellington. We alternated between 2 and ~7 kft all the way to AR/LA border before ascending to 10 kft to pick our way through the line of convection north of Houston.  During the low altitude leg HSRL again observed strong smoke plume near 15 kft, more or less where the models had predicted it would be.


We passed through the line of convection with no delay and landed after 7.3 hours.


Instrument status: 


DACOM had additional challenges on this flight as the PI went into hospital early in the morning before the flight.  Rest of this team got a late start with preflight preparations, but did report measurement of CO for about the last 2 hours of flight. 

CIT CIMS suffered a leak of N2 inside a sealed part of their system, eventually running out of N2 and having to shut down during the wall pattern at Mingo.  They did collect good data for first half of flight and expect to be fully functional for the next flight.