Yesterday (Monday) was a day filled with preparation for flight.  This included necessary, but somewhat mundane tasks, such as executing radio range checks, setting up stakes to determine the direction of true north for aircraft initialization, fine-tuning the autopilot code, setting up flight plans in the computer, and testing equipment.  I’ll be very honest and say that while these are necessary components of preparing for an extended field campaign, they are not nearly as interesting or exciting to write about in a blog!  Therefore, I won’t get into details on what all of this entailed, but I’ll leave it at sharing some photos of the crew at work.

Dr. Dale Lawrence working to fine-tune the autopilot and get things set up for flight.

Dr. Dale Lawrence working to fine-tune the autopilot and get things set up for flight.

 

From left: Nathan, Will, Dale and Gijs, preparing for an aircraft radio range test.  Gijs is monitoring a grizzly bear that has been spotted far away from the site.

From left: Nathan, Will, Dale and Gijs, preparing for an aircraft radio range test. Gijs is monitoring a grizzly bear that has been spotted far away from the site.

The weather was less than cooperative today — it’s not very common to have solid rain on the North Slope, but it does happen on occasion.  Today was apparently that occasion.  In combination with 15-20 mph winds, the rain was solid enough to get you very wet in about 3 minutes if standing outside.  Unfortunately, the 3-minute time estimate came from personal experience, as one of our tests required that I stood outside for approximately 4 minutes, and I had not put my rain pants on.  The bears apparently didn’t mind the rain, as the site was on alert today for a grizzly bear that was roaming somewhere in the proximity of the AMF3.  Fortunately, we have several people, including ourselves, to keep a close eye on exactly how close the bears get!  Today is likely to be somewhat better, with slightly less wind, and substantially less rain.  Assuming that forecast holds, we are planning for a day full of flights!

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