DC-8 09/09/13

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Flight Number: 
Payload Configuration: 
Nav Data Collected: 
Total Flight Time: 
6.7 hours
Flight Segments: 
Flight Time:6.7 hours
Log Number:138301PI:Kent Shiffer
Funding Source:Hal Maring - NASA - SMD - ESD Radiation Science Program
Purpose of Flight:Science
Comments:Out and back from Ellington field TX. Earlier takeoff to set up DIAL LIDAR. Performed numerous fly throughs of crop and agricultural field burning. Executed under flight of ER-2 and CALIPSO satellite. Flew 3 separate under flights of ER-2 and performance radiation studies over 2 mobile AERONET sites. Executed dips across gradients in ozone and water from Texas to Kansas. Did a low approach at Performed DIAL curtain over Houston region.
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 09/09/13 - 09/10/13 Science Report

Mission Summary: 

9 Sept 13 DC-8 Flight Report


This flight targeted northern LA to sample emissions from oil and gas extraction, terpenes and isoprene from a region thought to be a strong source of terpenes, and agricultural fires in the Mississip River valley.  We also included an underpass of the A-train and radiation walls on both the western and eastern sides of the study region, all of these were in coordination with the ER-2.


We joined the CALIPSO ground track in SW LA soon after take off and flew an HSRL curtain leg at 20 kft more or less along the TX-LA border  (see flight track). The NW end point of this leg was over a mobile AERONET site which was designated as the center point of the first radiation wall. The eastern ~1/3 of the wall was over a region with a lot of oil/gas drilling pads. The DC-8 and ER-2 both proceeded to the SW end of this wall and we flew the first leg back to NE at 20 kft for the HSRL curtain, reversed course and ramped down to 1000 AGL, and flew the second level leg in BL back to NE.   We were well coordinated with the ER-2 for all 3 passes over the AERONET site.  ER-2 broke off after the DC-8 BL run, we completed our wall by flying back to the SW at 9 kft just above most of the small Cu, and then back to the NE at 8 kft passing through small Cu along the path.  These clouds were only about 1000 ft tall.


After the wall we returned to the BL and proceeded east bound, passing first over the gas field near Shrevesport LA, and then the forest expected to emit large amounts of terpenes. We reversed course shortly past the eastern side of the forest and returned along the track at 2 kft.  Plan was to fly a 3rd leg of this “flux wall” at ~ 4 kft back to the east, but the levels of terpenes observed at both 1 and 2 kft were quite low (short spikes to 500 ppt but usually just ~250 ppt).  PTRMS requested that we return to the lower level so they could sample in a different mode, so we descended and headed back along track to the east at 1000 AGL.  We had to break off from the flux wall before eastern end of final leg to rejoin the ER-2 for second radiation wall over another mobile AERONET site.


We attempted to climb to 20 kft for the HSRL  curtain but had trouble getting the clearance from ATC.  Most of our eastbound leg was flown at 12 kft, but we did get up to 20 kft shortly before reversing course and ramping back down to the western end for BL leg to the east at 1000 AGL.  There were very few clouds in this region so the final legs of this wall were flown just above the top of BL at 6 kft and then near top of BL at 4 kft.  This wall was timed to occur between 17-18:00 local time to allow 4STAR and the AERONET site to conduct special high solar zenith angle scans.


While we were working the radiation wall we observed one pyro Cu and several other smaller agricultural fires to the north of us (ER-2 pilot also spotted the pyro Cu and alerted us).  At the end of the wall we headed north to try to intercept the smoke plumes near us.  One plume was penetrated 4 different times (See zoom of the flight track).  We then headed further north in and just above a smoke filled BL, but did not see any other fires lofting smoke high enough for us to target.  We returned to the same fire that we had penetrated and made 2 more passes through it before returning to the ground track of the “terpene flux wall” and flying W along that track at 3kft (lowest IFR altitude possible).  We flew almost  all the way back to the center point of the first radiation wall before diverting northward to make a missed approach at Shrevesport, descending to 100 AGL over the runway. We then turned toward EFD and flew the transit back at 15 kft, including a coordinated overflight of the TOPAZ instrument on the ground at La Porte airport.


Flight duration was 6.7 hours.  All instruments were operational at the time of landing, though AOP encountered problems that caused loss of data for about 1.5 hours early in the flight, and PALMS had a roughing pump shut down several times late in the flight due to over heating.