After a week and a half of integration, we did our first test flights on January 12th and 13th. Sometimes called “shakedown flights”, they help us identify any issues with the instruments in the air that aren’t apparent on the ground. Test flights also let the ground crew and scientists practice the preflight maneuvers (such… Read More

In winter, Salt Lake City suffers from inversion events, which trap air pollutants low to the ground and cause buildup of particulate matter in the air. Particulate matter, known to atmospheric chemists as aerosols, has been shown to have strong influence on human health; for example, areas with higher particulate concentrations have higher mortality rates.… Read More

Now that the plane has arrived in Colorado, it’s time to start filling it up! For aircraft-based field projects, there are typically a few weeks prior to the start of research flights where scientists and aircraft technicians install the scientific instruments on board. This is called the integration period (or, otter-gration in this case), and… Read More

Salt Lake City, Utah has the reputation of being a pristine mountain city, so it may surprise non-residents to learn that the region has some of the worst wintertime air pollution events in the country. The densely populated region is surrounded on three sides by mountains and experiences cold, snowy winters, leading to frequent temperature… Read More