Mission Debrief 08/15/02

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Mission Debrief

Flight Number: 91

Debrief Author: Kim

Date: 08/15/02

Pilot: Jason McDermitt

Launch Time: 15:05:00

Land Time: 20:15:00

EDOT Status: Operational sample rate adjusted for flight

Miami Nexrad Status: Operational

Key West Nexrad Status: Operational

NPOL Status: Operational Did not coordinate NPOL for flight. NPOL does not have internet access yet.

Mission Description:
Investigate isolated thunderstorms in the ACES target domain (Everglades and the surrounding Ocean).

Mission Objective:
Overfly as many thunderstorms as possible, and record science data (electrical, magnetic, optical, resistivity, etc...) during the entire life cycle of the storms.

Mission Summary:
The aircraft took off at 1505 UTC. The Altus stayed aloft for 5.2 hours overflying 4 storm systems at ~50 kft. All of them failed to develop into thunderstorms. Although there was 50% chance of thunderstorms, the weather was a bust and did not cooperate. The first storm system was over the warning area and was very small. The second storm overflown was located over the ocean and was at the northwestern edge of the Altus range. The e-field measured at 500 Volts/meter for this storm. The third storm was over the Everglades and the fourth storm were by the dry Tortugas Island. These storms were very small and e-field measured over these storms were only 50 Volts/meter. The Altus performed marvelously and could have stayed aloft longer if needed.

Instruments/Aircraft/Ground Assets:
The Ground Based Field Mill was not operational for this flight, but the problem was identified and will be corrected for the next flight. The Altus uplink radio frequency was jammed to half strength at one point and the crew had to change to the back-up frequency. The Altus had to make a second pass during landing due to condensation on the pilot camera. The routing of heated air to the nose camera seems to help but has not completely solved the problem. Did not get rapid scan on the GOES.

Storms did not form as planned. In fact only a few NLDN flashes formed within the
flight region. Echo tops on cells that formed only reached about 35-40 kft at most.
Cells didn't form because the dry air to the east moved in faster than forecast.
The flight came back early due to no cells to fly.

Total Flight Time: 5 Hours 10 Minutes


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