P-3 Orion 11/19/13 - 11/20/13

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Flight Number: 
Science Flight #2: Victoria 01
Payload Configuration: 
Operation IceBridge
Nav Data Collected: 
Total Flight Time: 
8.3 hours
Flight Segments: 
Start:11/19/13 21:09 Z Finish:11/20/13 05:24 Z
Flight Time:8.3 hours
Log Number:14P003PI:Michael Studinger
Funding Source:Bruce Tagg - NASA - SMD - ESD Airborne Science Program
Purpose of Flight:Science
Comments:Nominal mission. Instruments and airplane good. This was the second science flight for McMurdo ops. We flew a mission called Victoria 01.
Flight Hour Summary: 
Flight Hours Approved in SOFRS230
Total Used128.2
Total Remaining101.8
14P003 Flight Reports
Date Flt # Purpose of Flight Duration Running Total Hours Remaining Miles Flown
11/06/13OIB ECFCheck1.51.5228.5
11/08/13OIB PCF #1Check3.14.6225.4
11/08/13OIB PCF #2Check3.78.3221.7
11/12/13 - 11/13/131715Transit8.824.5205.5
11/13/13 - 11/14/131716Transit8.132.6197.4
11/14/13 - 11/15/131717Transit6.839.4190.6
11/15/13 - 11/16/131718Transit6.746.1183.9
11/17/13 - 11/18/13McMurdo Check FlightCheck4.350.4179.6
11/18/13 - 11/19/13Science Flight #1: TAM WestScience7.858.2171.8
11/19/13 - 11/20/13Science Flight #2: Victoria 01Science8.366.5163.5
11/20/13 - 11/21/13Science Flight #3: Sea Ice Ross FluxgateScience7.373.8156.2
11/25/13 - 11/26/13Science Flight #4: Siple Coast 03Science8.782.5147.5
11/26/13 - 11/27/13Science Flight #5: Dome C: VostokScience8.290.7139.3
11/27/13 - 11/28/13Transit #1: NZIR-NZCHTransit8.899.5130.5
11/28/13 - 11/29/13Transit #2: NZCH-NSTUTransit6.3105.8124.2
11/29/13 - 11/30/13Transit #3: NSTU-HawaiiTransit7.4113.2116.8
12/01/13Transit #3: Hawaii - Mountain View, CATransit7.1120.3109.7
12/02/13Transit #3: California - WFFTransit6.5126.8103.2
12/11/13ATM Post Mission Cal FlightCheck1.4128.2101.8

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: 

OIB - P-3 Orion 11/19/13 - 11/20/13 Science Report

Mission Summary: 

F02 Victoria 01 and Dry Valley ICESat cal/val site


  • Low-altitude survey (1,500 ft AGL) over Transantarctic Mountains and Victoria Land.
  • ATM, snow, Ku-band, accumulation, MCoRDS and DMS were operated on the survey lines.
  • Gravimeter and magnetometer data collected over entire flight.
  • Satellite Tracks: ICESat cal/val site in Dry Valleys.
  • Repeat Mission: none.


Instrument Operated Data Volume Instrument Issues/Comments
ATM yes 66 GB None.
DMS yes 120 GB None.
Snow Radar yes 166 GB None. Data lost after pitch and roll maneuvers due to operator error.
Ku-band Radar yes 166 GB None. Data lost after pitch and roll maneuvers due to operator error.
Accumulation Radar yes 167 GB None.
MCoRDS yes 2.1 TB None.
KT-19 yes 9.0 MB None. Exceeded -50°C specs on sensor.
Gravimeter yes 1.6 GB None.
Magnetometer yes 320 MB 1 HF radio call caused interference with mag data.


Mission Report (Michael Studinger, Mission Scientist)

Today we have flown our second science mission of the deployment. After yesterday’s walk in the park we faced some of the usual challenges of airborne science this morning before takeoff. One of the reasons for the tremendous success of IceBridge is the outstanding flight crew we have on the P-3.  I hope that everyone will once get the opportunity to see this crew in action – they are truly amazing. We had two minor issues on two engines during engine starts and the crew fixed both of them in no time. Instead of having to cancel today’s mission we were able to be airborne just 1 hour and 20 minutes behind schedule thanks to an amazing flight crew. I’d like also like to thank everyone at the airfield to quickly accommodate the slip in schedule and provide the necessary support to get us of the ground. You all saved the day – thank you!

The weather over the Ross Sea was bad again today and we decided to fly the Victoria 01 mission plan given that the weather there has been poor for a long time. The other viable option was a survey on the east Antarctic Plateau, which typically has good weather during summer months. We began the survey with the ICESat/ICESat-2 cal/val site in the Dry Valleys since these lines were along the way. The plan is to repeatedly overfly the measurement tracks of all six ICESat-2 beams along a single reference ground track in the Dry Valleys. The specific line was chosen based on its geography. This line crosses the Dry Valleys at a point where several valleys connect to form a broader valley which should be wide enough (almost 30 km) to allow the P-3 aircraft to maintain good altitude control for most of the lines, and still provide a broad regime of surface slopes suitable for ICESat-2 cal/val for both ranging and attitude. Our target flight elevation was 2000 ft AGL in order to make sure we have enough elevation buffer for the 1500 ft AGL minimum flight elevation in our permit that allows us to enter the Antarctic Specially Protected Area or ASPA. There was more snow on the ground than I had expected but hopefully this won’t impact the interpretability of the data too much.

The main purpose of today’s mission was to sample three ICESat tracks stretching across northern Victoria Land from David Glacier to the northern coast. We also collected data along the centerlines of the Rennick, Aviator, Priestley and Matusevich Glaciers.  The weather in the survey area was perfect. We only encountered mild turbulence during some of the glacier runs. MacCenter and the weather office did a great job in frequently updating us during the flight about the evolving weather conditions on the ice runway. Whether in McMurdo, at the airfield, or back home in the US the professional support we get from the US Antarctic program is outstanding. We owe you all a big thank you and hope you are proud of having become a critical part of the success of this mission.

On the transit from the Aviator Glacier back to McMurdo we stayed at 2000 ft AGL and collected opportunistic data over sea ice over a cloud free area along the Transantarctic Mountains. We also did a series of pitch maneuvers over sea ice to validate data from the snow and Ku-band radars followed by roll maneuvers at 10,000 ft for the MCoRDS depth sounder radar. We also did a ramp pass and overflight of the ATM cal/val site on Black Island before landing. All in all another very successful day.

Data collection started 11/19/2013 21:21 UTC and ended at 11/20/2013 05:16 UTC. In total we collected 7.9 hours of science data.


Today's mission plan and P-3 trajectory.

P-3 on the sea ice runway with Mt. Erebus in the background.

View of the Dry Valleys in the Transantarctic Mountains

View of the Dry Valleys in the Transantarctic Mountains

View of Priestley Glacier in Victoria Land