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DC-8 08/19/13

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Flight Number: 
Payload Configuration: 
Nav Data Collected: 
Total Flight Time: 
8.5 hours
Flight Segments: 
Start:08/19/13 14:57 Z Finish:08/19/13 23:24 Z
Flight Time:8.5 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 (Idaho wildfire smoke plume) Aircraft Status: Not airworthy after flight with Eng. #1 EGT malfunction. Also working generator #1 overload and APU malfunctions. Sensor Status: SEAC4RS instrument payload; all instruments operated. Significant Issues: None Accomplishments Round robin flight out of Ellington Airport, TX. Initial climb to FL250 and then FL300 to transit northwest. Cross waypoint P1PPP at 1609Z (Oklahoma CART Site). Cross waypoint N05NN at 1620Z at FL300. Cross waypoint WYPT1 at 1646Z. Cross waypoint N03NN and start flying data wall just east of Crazy Woman Wyoming in cooperation with ER2. Start data wall initially at FL300 at 1726Z; complete line at 1738Z. Descend to fly line at 7000ft MSL, 1500ft AGL, 11000ft MSL,16000ft MSL. Extend line to east for 4 minutes and then reverse course to fly line for a short period at FL190 before turning southeast at FL190. Climb to FL270 at 1941Z. In cooperation with ER2 fly data wall in southwest Kansas by first descending to 4000ft MSL at 2029Z. Reach end of line at 2049Z and then continue to fly wall at FL180 and complete wall at this altitude at 2130Z. Fly at various altitudes on return to Houston; 17000ft MSL, 14000ft MSL, FL210, and finally 8000ft MSL before descending into Houston. Land at Ellington Airport, Houston. Takeoff time: 231 14 57 25 Landing time: 231 23 24 29
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 08/19/13 Science Report

Mission Summary: 


This sortie was a coordinated flight with the ER-2 targeting aged smoke from the wildfires in Idaho and Wyoming..  The DC-8 was charged with flying high (30 kft) from Houston to a point in eastern Wyoming, using HSRL to map the distribution of ozone and smoke along the transect.  We were then planned to perfom wall patterns under and in the smoke plume while the ER-2 flew rosette pattern above.  The first wall was chosen to be in eastern Wyoming to sample younger smoke (still at least a day old) and the second was planned for the KS-NB border where the plume was expected to be a day or two older.  At takeoff we understood that the second wall might be cancelled or moved, if the smoke above that location when we passed it northbound was too thin for successful remote sensing retrievals.


After takeoff we leveled at 25 kft for 10 minutes to allow all instruments to come fully on line, and then ascended to 30 kft for the rest of the transit to Wyoming.  Over north TX and southern OK we sampled air with relatively high NOx and other tracers of boundary layer air that seemed like convective outflow.  Met team on the ground confirmed that we were probably in outflow from storms that had occurred in CO the night before.  Soon after (while we were well south of the SGP CART site) HSRL started to observe relatively strong smoke plume below us.  Smoke was persistent essentially all the way to the wall in Wyoming, but the number, and heights, of individual plumes varied widely.  HSRL estimated layer AOT values ranging from 0.1 or a bit less, up to nearly 0.8 at different locations along our track.  The border region between KS and NB where the second wall was planned had less smoke than nearly any other region encountered during the flight.


We arrived at the SW waypoint of the WY wall at 30 kft and flew NE at that flight level to the second point to obtain HSRL curtain.  We then reversed course and ramped down into the BL and reversed course again at the starting point to be coordinated with the first leg of the ER-2 rosette.  These 2 passes made it obvious that the SW end of the wall had very little smoke compared to the NE end, so we extended our BL run to the NE past the planned end point ~5 minutes before turning back and ascending to 11 kft to make a leg back to the SW at 11 kft in the lower part of the smoke plume complex.  At the starting waypoint we reversed course and climbed to 16 kft to make a pass through the thickest layer in the smoke.  This leg was also extended past the planned end point, following the ground track of our BL leg.  We reversed course and climbed to 19 kft and proceeded back to the original NE end point and 5 minutes past that toward the SE waypoint before heading toward the second rendezvous point with the ER-2.


While we were sampling the wall in Wyoming, planning team in Houston selected a new location in southern NB and the OK panhandle for the wall and rosette to sample older smoke.  We were instructed to try to fly in the smoke plume for as long as we could between WY and the second wall.  However, the DC-8 flight crew informed  us that we were low on fuel and might not be able to do more than 2 legs in the second wall if we stayed at the relatively low altitudes (10 – 18 kft) where the smoke was.  So we ascended to 27 kft and observed the smoke layer with HSRL.

During this transit several instruments reported problems maintaining proper inlet flow rates at the unusually fast speeds the plane was flying (near 440 kts).  We requested that pilots slow down a little, and they throttled back to 360 to 380 kts, which turned out to be “fuel frugal” cruising speeds.  As we neared the starting point of the wall we were informed that the slower speeds would extend our fuel enough that we could do 3 legs in the wall and significant profiling afterward during the

final transit back to EFD.


We descended and arrived at the NE end of second to do first leg in BL (~3200 ft PAlt).  Zenith HSRL revealed several layers of smoke above us, with the optically thickest layer near 18 kft.  At SW end of first leg we reversed course and ramped up through the smoke to arrive at 18 kft near the starting waypoint, where we reversed course for a final leg through the thickest smoke layer.  After this leg we turned toward Houston and attempted to stay in the smoke enroute.  This proved difficult as we passed through layers and then saw new ones above or below our flight level.  We attempted to hit layers suggested by HSRL near 14 kft, 21 kft and 18 kft, with marginal success.  We then descended to 8 kft to do a 10 minute leg at the top of the BL between Dallas and Houston, passing through a thin but strong smoke layer right near top of BL at about 10 kft.  This run showed weak signals of smoke mixed with urban/industrial pollution, suggesting that some of the smoke was being entrained into the BL.  At the end of this leg we entered an approach to EFD and were vectored to the west, then south, then east of Houston right over the ship channel, before landing at EFD from the north.  We were also held at altitudes below the 8 kft BL leg during the several legs of this landing pattern.


Flight duration was 8.5 hours.  All instruments reported collecting quality data during most of the flight.  AOP noted that they had some minor issues with alignment that impacted data quality above 15 kft, and SPEC reported that the optical windows on several wingtip probes had gotten coated with smoke to the extent that they could not have imaged cloud particles if we encountered any.  Both of these groups were confident that the issues would be remedied during the maintenance day on Tuesday 20 Aug.  GT CIMS and HSRL/DIAL noted that temperatures in the aft cabin got higher than usual during the BL work in the second wall, causing some loss of sensitivity/precision.  DC-8 FE stated that max cooling was provided as during earlier flights, but he and the instrument teams agreed to look into the issue to try to figure out if something had changed (similar unusually high temperatures were also noted during the flight on 16 Aug, but not before that).