SARP 2011 – Preparing for DC-8 flights next week

We loaded up the vans bright and early Thursday morning and headed north for 100 miles from Irvine through Los Angeles and up to Palmdale.  The notorious LA traffic turned out to be a breeze and we made it to the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility (DAOF) in Palmdale by 10AM.   The temperature was ~100F – quite the contrast from cool Irvine.  We all got badged and on base (thanks Romo!) and had a tour of the hangar.

Frank Cutler, DC-8 mission manager, gives SARP a tour of the hangar at the DAOF

The DC-8 shares its hangar with SOFIA (a 3-meter telescope inside a 747 optimized for infrared observations)

Thursday afternoon’s lectures at the DAOF included information on instrument integration, data systems, and facility instruments.  In addition, students also got their first look inside of the DC-8.  

Zhanna waves from the DC-8

Kirsten emerges from underneath the DC-8

Friday morning we had lectures on meteorology from Dr. Henry Fuelberg and flight planning by Rick Shetter.  We also watched a DC-8 safety movie (it was similar to the ones shown by the airlines — but quite a bit more involved!)  After the morning’s lectures, we all walked out to the DC-8 (it had been moved outside of the hangar since yesterday).  The Air group worked on bending tubing for the Whole Air Sampler (WAS).  

Esther and Nick bend tubing for the Whole Air Sampler

Megan and Kim carry a “snake” to the plane

The Land and Ocean groups learned more about the MODIS/ASTER airborne simulator (MASTER) remote sensing instrument that they will use for their projects.  Students climbed up inside the belly of the DC-8 to see MASTER up close.


Dr. Nick Clinton talks about the MASTER instrument

After two long but exciting days, we all relaxed poolside at the hotel.   Everyone is extremely excited for the first DC-8 flight on Monday!

One thought on “SARP 2011 – Preparing for DC-8 flights next week”

  1. i can not explain how extremely proud i am of my child Kim and i am sure that all of the other parents feel exactly the same for their children. i only wish that i could be there to watch all of you talented kids doing things that i could possibly only understand after 10 – 15 years of schoolin

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