DC-8 08/30/13 - 08/31/13

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Flight Number: 
Payload Configuration: 
Nav Data Collected: 
Total Flight Time: 
7.9 hours
Flight Segments: 
Start:08/30/13 16:23 Z Finish:08/31/13 00:19 Z
Flight Time:7.9 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 (southeast U.S. pollutants characterization (Centerville) and biogenic emissions (Ozarks) Aircraft Status: Airworthy. Sensor Status: SEAC4RS instrument payload; all instruments operated. This is the first flight of LaRC lightening sensor loop test strips installation Significant Issues: None Accomplishments: Round robin flight out of Ellington Airport. Fly at various altitudes while tracking to the northeast to as far north as Louisville, KY. Altitudes varied from 15,000ft MSL to 1500ft MSL with sampling occurring generally in the 3000ft MSL to 9000ft MSL range. Cross waypoint WPT3 (Bowling Green, KY) at 1904Z at FL250 in cooperation with ER2 and then fly holding pattern centered on this point crossing WPT3 at 1921Z at 7000ft MSL and 1935Z at 3000ft MSL (SPEC Lear in general area). Proceeding toward Louisville, KY fly at altitudes just above and below cloud bases: 1945Z at 5000ft MSL, 1951Z at 8500ft MSL, 1956Z at 6000ft MSL (west of Louisville, KY) and continue this pattern flying southwest until near Evansville, KY where descended to 1100ft AGL from 2005Z-2010Z. Continue to fly at altitudes above/below cloud bases and into boundary layer: 2014Z at 6500ft MSL, 2017Z at 7200ft MSL, 2026Z at 1000ft AGL, 2036Z at 2500ft MSL, 2049Z at 3000ft MSL. Reverse course near Mountain View Airport, MO to track northeast to dwell near Farmington VOR initially at 3500ft MSL then 1000ft AGL at 2106Z. Track south at 2000ft AGL at 2117Z, 3000ft AGL at 2122Z, 1000ft AGL at 2125Z. Northeast of Memphis, TN climb to FL230 at 2142Z then descending spiral south east of Memphis at 2200Z. Track southeast and then southwest toward Houston, TX generally at boundary layer altitudes: 2400ft MSL at 2212Z, 1000ft AGL at 2216z-2221Z, 4600ft MSL (cloud bases) and then 7000ft MSL (cloud tops) 2228Z-2231Z, 1000ft AGL at 2237Z, 10,000ft MSL at 2248Z, 1000ft AGL at 2259Z, 10,000ft MSL at 2310Z, 1000ft AGL at 2320Z, 8000ft MSL at 2330Z, 1000ft AGL at 2339Z, and 2000ft AGL at 2350Z. Work with ATC for routing to Ellington Airport and land at Ellington Airport, TX. Takeoff time: 242 16 23 42 Landing time: 243 00 19 39
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 08/30/13 - 08/31/13 Science Report

Mission Summary: 



The focus of this flight was to study gas-phase and aerosol chemistry over a range of southeastern US environments under hot and stagnant conditions. The flight track involved a boundary layer flight pattern from Louisiana through Alabama; a 25 kft track along the CALIOP orbit including rendez-vous with the ER-2 and the LearJet over Mammoth Caves at the time of CALIOP overpass (1904 UT); a boundary layer flight pattern across the Ohio River valley to the “isoprene volcano” of Southeast Missouri, taking advantage of our permission to fly in this usually restricted area of the Ozarks; and return in the evening along the outbound track. The overall flight track is shown in Figure 1.


We departed Houston at 1623 UT and promptly set up our boundary layer pattern from Louisiana all the way across Alabama. The boundary layer was topped by fair-weather cumulus extending from about 4 to 6 kft (Figure 2).  The boundary layer pattern consisted of 5 min in the boundary layer (as low as we could – typically 1-2 kft),  1 min just below cloud base, 3 min above cloud top, 1 min below cloud base, and repeat. We were able to repeat that pattern successfully all the way to Birmingham. Concentrations of isoprene and its products were typical of our previous flights, with relatively polluted conditions encountered south of Birmingham. At that point we climbed to 25 kft to reach the CALIOP orbit track at (34.5N, 85.5W) and headed NNW along that track. There were cirrus overhead, which is the condition that the CALIOP team sought. We reached the CALIOP overpass point (37.1N, 86.1W) at exactly the time of the CALIOP overpass and conducted a parking-garage wall at that point with 4-min legs at 25 kft, 5 kft, and 1 kft.


From there we continued NNW to (38.3N, 86.5W) and then WSW to the Ozarks in southeastern Missouri (37.5N, 90.0W), repeating the boundary layer pattern. Again the boundary layer was capped by fair-weather cumulus with tops at about 6 kft. We encountered regionally polluted conditions (NOx, sulfate) as we flew across Ohio.


We arrived in the Ozarks at about 20 UT and there encountered stormy conditions. This did not prevent us from flying in the boundary layer and we sampled record-high isoprene levels, in excess of 10 ppb, with no corresponding elevation of formaldehyde and very low NOx (~100 ppt). We had planned to do a wall over the Ozarks to support the ER-2 flying a rosette overhead but the clouds were not a good environment for the ER-2 rosette and so those plans were scrapped. Instead, the ground gave us instructions to give up on the planned wall (which we had just started) and instead continue on the flight as we pleased. So we stayed in the boundary later over the Ozarks for about 30 minutes, looking for sunny conditions that could provide us with photochemical contrast, and we found some. There were extensive regions with isoprene ~10 ppb.


After this was completed we headed on a SE track, again staying in the boundary layer as we exited the Ozarks and entered the agricultural Mississippi valley. The instruments were getting warm so we climbed to 25 Kft just before crossing the Mississippi, remaining there until (34.6N, 88.7W) where we did a spiral down to the boundary layer and resumed our boundary layer pattern. We caught back our outbound track at (33.2N, 87.2W) and returned the way we came, continuing the boundary layer pattern, Clouds were by now dissipated so we spent most of our time in the boundary layer with only brief profiles to the free troposphere (typically at 10 kft). We were able to remain in the boundary layer until very close to Houston and sample the industrial areas of Port Arthur and Beaumont.


The flight was overall extremely successful. We were able to conduct extensive boundary layer chemical characterization and sample a range of chemical conditions. The CALIOP validation track and rendez-vous with the other aircraft worked like a charm.  We encountered the Ozarks ‘isoprene volcano’ and were able to criss-cross it with extensive boundary layer legs. All instruments functioned well.