P-3 Orion 11/20/13 - 11/21/13

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Flight Number: 
Science Flight #3: Sea Ice Ross Fluxgate
Payload Configuration: 
Operation IceBridge
Nav Data Collected: 
Total Flight Time: 
7.3 hours
Flight Segments: 
Start:11/20/13 20:44 Z Finish:11/21/13 04:02 Z
Flight Time:7.3 hours
Log Number:14P003PI:Michael Studinger
Funding Source:Bruce Tagg - NASA - SMD - ESD Airborne Science Program
Purpose of Flight:Science
Comments:1st sea ice flight - all nominal. 3rd science flight overall.
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 11/20/13 - 11/21/13 Science Report

Mission Summary: 

F03 Ross Sea Fluxgate (shortened)




  • Low-altitude survey (1,500 ft AGL) over the Ross Sea.
  • ATM, snow, Ku-band, accumulation, and DMS were operated on the survey lines.
  • Gravimeter and magnetometer data collected over entire flight.
  • Collected calibration data for accumulation radar and MCoRDS.
  • Satellite Tracks: none.
  • Repeat Mission: none.


Instrument Operated Data Volume Instrument Issues/Comments
ATM yes 55 GB None.
DMS yes 96 GB None. Collected 15,466 frames on primary system.
Snow Radar yes 239 GB None.
Ku-band Radar yes 239 GB None.
Accumulation Radar yes 161 GB None. Collected calibration data over sea ice.
MCoRDS none N/A None. Collected calibration data over sea ice.
KT-19 yes 10 MB None.
Gravimeter yes 1.4 GB None.
Magnetometer yes 280 MB 1 HF radio call


Mission Report (Michael Studinger, Mission Scientist)

Today the weather was suitable for the first sea ice mission. The Ross Sea Fluxgate mission plan (see below) has been given the highest priority by the IceBridge Sea Ice Science Team. At this time of the year the northern Ross Sea has many leads with open water, something that tremendously helps calculating sea ice thickness from ice freeboard measurements. From an operational point this is bad news since the many leads are a source of moisture that causes widespread fog and low cloud cover, making it a challenge to collect data with optical instruments that require and unobstructed view of the ice surface. Today’s mission was another uneventful flight. As expected we were in and out of clouds requiring the usual frequent elevation changes to avoid cloud and fog. We fly in conditions much worse over the Arctic Ocean compared to what we have encountered today.

The goal of today’s flight was to estimate sea ice thickness across a 1,400 km long fluxgate in the northern Ross Sea, were the sea ice is streaming northward from McMurdo Sound into the Ross Sea. The northern most profile runs from Cape Adare on the west to Sulzberger Bay on the east. A second east-west line parallel to the first, captures the ice condition south of the flux gate. This IceBridge mission is intended to complement a ship-based mission anticipated for the austral spring 2015, which will focus on a detailed survey of the sea ice and snow conditions in this same area.

In order to get back onto our normal schedule we had to shorten the 8 hour mission plan to a 7 hour flight. Instead of flying low on the transit line we collected data from high altitudes saving time. We had to break off the southern fluxgate line 400 km off the cost in order to land in McMurdo at 17:00 local time. We started the flight collecting more calibration data for the CReSIS MCoRDS system at 10,000, 15,000, and 18,000 ft MSL. On the way home we collected calibration data over sea ice for the CReSIS accumulation radar at 3000, 4500 and 6000 ft MSL.

Data collection started 11/20/20/2013 20:53 UTC and ended at 11/21/2013 03:54 UTC. In total we collected 7.0 hours of science data.


Today's mission plan and P-3 trajectory.

Sea ice in Sulzberger Bay

Sea ice and ice bergs in Sulzberger Bay