Montag, 29. Mai 2017

Latest flights and outlook

This morning Polar 5 and 6 took off really early. Scheduled take off was at 7:00 local time. The plan was to fly above the clouds and also at low altitude to do amongst other things some calibration patterns, albedo, cloud remote and in-situ measuring.
Flight under the clouds and above sea ice

Clouds near Svalbard

Unfortunately Polar 5 encountered too much icing and had to return to Longyearbyen after 3 hours. Polar 6 instead had a flight of more than 4 hours and returned succesfully.

Tomorrow, Polar 6 and Polarstern, which is passing Svalbard on the West, will have a first meeting. On Wednesday a joint flight of both aircraft to Polarstern is planned.

Samstag, 27. Mai 2017

Polar 5 on a Satellite Mission

Today, Polar 5 started for a satellite mission having a date with Cloudsat and all the other satellite of the A-Train satellite constellation. Therefore, the flight plan had to be scheduled more precise then for other flights. The meeting was at 11:27 local time with about 1.5 hours flight time until the exact overpass. We aimed to follow the track for one hour having the meeting in the center of the leg. So everybody had to take the seat half an hour before start to guaranty no delay during the starting procedure. The training of the last flights helped and is morning Polar 5 needed only 20 min from starting the engines until take off.

Although we had beautiful sunny weather at the airport with high risk of getting sun burned, a lot of clouds where found on the satellite track.

First Ny Alesund Overpass

Another fish-eye photo taken from Polar 5 during the second research flight, where you might find some interesting detail. 

Freitag, 26. Mai 2017

The Polar 6 view...

...standing on the ground, a longing view to the sky... it's Polar 5 taking off while the Polar 6 scientists still need to wait for their first research flight. Due to the technical problems with the aircraft we still need to be patient to get airborne. But this can always happen and in the meanwhile the time was used to optimize and calibrate the scientific instrumentation inside of Polar 6. Of course we want to be ready as soon as the aircraft is.

Today the spare part is supposed to arrive in Longyearbyen. Being lucky, the aircraft will be ready by saturday and if weather is good the first joint flight of P5 and P6 might happen...finally :-)

Donnerstag, 25. Mai 2017

Survival Suits

During take-off and landing and also during low level flights, the survival suit has to be worn. In the case of an offshore emergency landing the suit protects the wearer from the cold and harsh sea. It is getting really warm inside these suits, therefore they aren't the first choice of clothing but they are important and necessary. Also everyone wearing it looks like an astronaut or an orange jet pilot. Some critics say you just look funny.

Second flight Polar5

Today was the second flight of Polar5. At the beginning of the flight we passed the Ny-Alesund. During the flight we had an  opportunity to observe glacier and different kind of clouds. Several dropsondes were launched during the flight providing the data. Almost everything works with the instruments on Polar5. The first flight of Polar6 is planned for Saturday.
Glacier in Arctic
Launching dropsonde

Find Polar5

Something for the C-Cluster ...

Mittwoch, 24. Mai 2017

Polar 5 in test flight - short film

One of the test flights of Polar 5 took place in Bremen in February 2017. The long training will surely pay off now!

Dienstag, 23. Mai 2017

First Flight of Polar 5

Polar 5 scientists during flight in 10,000ft (~3,000m) height
This morning was the first take-off of Polar 5. The flight took around 5 hours and provided the first promising measurements. As usual for the first flight not all measurement instruments showed the performance which is wanted. Therefore tomorrow will be used for maintenance work for getting 100% of the data out of the next flights.

Aside from the science part, the flight today was really impressing. Polar 5 flew over an hour in just 200ft height.  So there was a great opportunity to enjoy the Arctic ice and the beautiful landscape. But everyone has to wear his survival suit to be prepared for the unlikely case that an emergency landing is needed.

Montag, 22. Mai 2017

Pick the right pair

Because of snow in winter and mud in summer, Svalbard people thought it would be a good idea not to bring any of both with your boots into houses. Nobody wants to clean this mess... So in allmost all buildings you have to put off your shoes when entering the door. One of our houses at Coal Miner Cabins is now complitely filled what you can easily conclude in the evening, when everyone is in the house. In the morning you only have to remember type, color and size of your own boots.

Now you can imagine, that changing houses such as going to breakfast becomes a little effort. Boots on and off for 20 seconds. The best strategy... do not tie your shoelace.

Sonntag, 21. Mai 2017

First meeting and technical problems

Today was the first general meeting in Longyearbyen. By now we are around 35 people, so even some people had to sit in the second row of our meeting room.
After discussing our scientific goals we talked about current technical issues of the scientific equipment. Due to that problems neither Polar 5 nor Polar 6 will take off tomorrow. The first start of Polar 5 is postponed to Tuesday whereas the earliest possible start of Polar 6 is Wednesday. The weather conditions for the upcoming week look promising for the first measurements.

Samstag, 20. Mai 2017

Waiting for something........ P5&6 arrival

Today we could, for the first time during ACLOUD, practice how to wait in cold weather for an aircraft to land. One of the most frequent tasks during aircraft campaigns. Polar 6 and Polar 5 started from Tromsö in the morning and needed only about 3 hours to cross the ocean between Svalbard and Scandinavia. Polar 6 was a little faster and arrived first. Before we finished to unload the addional cargo, also Polar 5 landed and we could welcome crew and operators.

Freitag, 19. Mai 2017

New Arrivals

Today the first large group of ACLOUD scientists arrived in Longyearbyen. Surprisingly, all in the second commercial flight by SAS. Nobody took Norwegian airline, even if they provide WiFi on board...  Also nobody was lost during the stop in Oslo. So we could guide all safely to our hotel, the Coal Miner Cabins.

In the same plane also the air freight arrived in the hangar of Longyearbyen airport. That was record breaking fast as the 638 kg of cargo boxes were send just at begin of the week. We also started to unload the sea freight container searching for all the personal polar clothes. Most were quite easy to access, but not all... and moved into the hanger using such typical airport wagons. Here we could learn how airport workers must feel when they have to drag and pull all the heave luggage into planes and out again.

Polar 5 and 6 are on the way

Today was the first day of the ferry of Polar 5 and Polar 6 to Longyearbyen. Because of some custom issues we left from Bremen airport a bit later then expected, but already could finish half of the way during the last hours. Within 3.5 hours flight time we first went to Trondheim, where we had a quick stop for refuling the aircraft. About half an hour later we were already back in the air again and were heading towards Tromsoe, our final destination for the first day of ferry. Here we arrived at about 8 pm. If everything wents well and the weather stays good we will make the final jump to Longyearbyen starting by tomorrow morning.
Of course, from a scientific point of view, just a ferry of the aircraft to Longyearbyen would be wasted flight time. Therefore, we used the chance to put already a small scientific crew onboard of both aircraft. Thus, during the ferry we could once again intensively test the instruments and carry out some first measurements of nice low level clouds. The good thing is that except of some smaller issues, all instruments performed well. The bad thing is that I wanted to upload a picture of such a nice cloud field, but the internet in our hotel is not strong enough. But I guess and hope that there will be much more of such clouds and the chance of posting photos of them during the next weeks of ACLOUD. 

Donnerstag, 18. Mai 2017

Alternate Office

While waiting for appointments with airport administration, meeting room owner, rental car service, etc... we spend some time in the Coal Miners Bar. Warm air, nice furniture, WiFi, ....  and only 30 NOK for coffee or tee with unlimited refill. In addition a nice view into the valley Longyeardalen.

 Silke, our AWI logistic expert is concentrating on answering mails from home. All the local arrangements she already prepared perfectly. No surprises so far. Tomorrow it will be more crowded. The first bunch of ACLOUD participants will arrive. One day later we expect the aircrafts to ferry to LYR.

Mittwoch, 17. Mai 2017

Nice clouds and eduroam at LYR

-5°C and clouds with little snow, that's how weather should be at Svalbard. Looks like bringing warm clothes was not the worst idea. Switching on my smart phone at the airport waiting hall, I imidiately got WiFi connection via Eduroam. There is no place left to be save from Email and Co....

Donnerstag, 11. Mai 2017

Polar 5 camouflages as Polar 6 - Testflights successfull

On Wednesday, Polar 5 was supposed to have a test flight after the integration was fully completed. Even if the configuration was already certified in February, deintagrating and integrating the instruments, always can cause some unexpected trouble. Everything was set for a early flight at 11:00 and Polar 5 also did taxi to the spot where all the instruments are usually initialized. But then waiting for take-off took longer and longer. Finally, Polar 5 came back and did shut down the engines.
The reason was not one of the instruments, it was the aircraft itself. In particular, the TCAS transponder failed to work. But good to have two aircraft. Luke the Polar 5 mechanic quickly exchanged the transponder by the one of Polar 6.

Therefore, flightradar24 showed Polar 5 flying in camouflage with the Polar 6 aircraft code C-GHGF instead of C-GAWI. However, the flight was succesfull, We could perform all patterns we needed to check the instruments and even observed a nice cloud layer that was visible in the new instruments MiRAC and Eagle/Hawk.

Today on Thursday, Polar 6 was scheduled to have the certification flight. Here a lot of paper work needed to be finished until the final go was announced. So take-off was in the late afternoon. But the spring Sun is already up quite a long time in the evening. The weather conditions have been also quite suitable for a certification flight, which has to be conducted under visual flight rules, meaning cloud free conditions. Also Polar 6 could perform some calibration pattern. That's why the flight track looks similar to a roller coaster, including circles of up to 40 degree bank angle. Yeah!!!

Dienstag, 9. Mai 2017

Final preparation for test flights

One day to go until the first test flights of ACLOUD. All instruments are alread installed in the racks, on the wings, below and above the aircraft fuselage. All scientists are still doing final checks, calibrations and try to bring the data aquisition to perfection.

But also a lot paper still have to be filled for finalizing the full technical documentation that is needed to get the official flight approval. This is one of the most thankless task for scientist and acutally deserves a photo here. I just forgot to take pictures of people sitting in front of a computer.

Surprisingly, the cabins still look quite spacious. Unfortunately, this will soon change when all the seats, benches and survival equitment will be loaded. So many boxes with tools and spares will have to travel via regular air freight. Therefore, we will be able to have some operators on board during the ferry and hopefully already collect some data on our way to Svalbard.