HIPPO flies over North and South Poles

Tomorrow (Tues Oct 27, 2009) begins the second journey in the HIPPO project.

HIAPER (High-performance Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research) is a Gulfstream-V owned by the National Science Foundation and operated by the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

HIPPO (HIAPER Pole to Pole Observation) is a project to study CO2 in the atmosphere using pole-to-pole surveys on the HIAPER aircraft.

This is interesting: “It is planned to have two maximum altitude ascents per flight, one in the first half and one in the second half, depending on the ability of the ATC to support altitude changes. Most of the flight will be conducted below RVSM (usually 28,000 ft) in order to allow the GV to go up and down constantly to collect data at different altitudes throughout the troposphere. Ideally the flight would take off and go to FL430 for 15 min, then descend below RVSM and proceed in a sawtooth pattern between FL270 and FL100 with a 1,500 ft/min climb/ascent rate, then climb to FL450 near the end of the flight for about 15 min, descend and proceed to the airport.”

HIPPO project website

Description of the flight path.

Article in local newspaper and on local TV website.

HIPPO on Facebook

FlightAware tracking for HIAPER
plus a Google Earth tool for following the flights.

HIAPER is active on this program now. Flew near the North Pole already. They plan to fly to Kona, HI today, taking data all the way.

Kickoff flight of HIPPO 2 Broomfield, CO to Anchorage
Flight near the pole (range is too short to reach it, but got to 80N).

Facebook page for news updates
Real-time tracking on Google Earth

I made some screenshots from UCAR’s flight track data (a *.kml file) displayed in Google Earth. The two images are (a) departing Alaska via Cold Bay, and (b) arriving in Kona.

Visible in these shots is the up-and-down flight track used to sample the atmosphere at different altitudes.

Larger image. Cold Bay is hidden behind part of the flight track, near the left edge. Anchorage is over the horizon in the back-left.

Larger image. Arriving in Kona. Flight track from Alaska shows two “dips” rising to about 28,000 ft and descending to almost sea level. Then the aircraft climbs to more than 40,000 ft and descends to land at Kailua-Kona.