Any idea what these flights (KTUS to KTUS) are all about?
A quick Google search revealed: Intermap is a digital mapping/radar survey company.
Here’s a picture:
I’ve been tracking this Lear for awhile now. It is quite interesting to follow. It has been scanning Arizona for at least a month now. I don’t know if it will move to another state or they are looking for the Lost Dutchman Mine. I have been at TUS a few times since I have noticed it’s pattern, but it must be hangared somewhere on the airport during the day.
Mineral exploration with aerial magnetometer.
Also known as looking for the Lost Dutchman’s Mine.
I wonder why they do a 360 before beginning (or is it after?) the pattern on each flight. I would guess it might be to calibrate some piece of equipment before starting the pass? Interesting.
If they have precise enough GPS control, the circles will be descending (or ascending) flight levels to establish the vertical gradient of the measuring instrument. Then you get the 3-D calibration, without which the survey doesn’t work.
I met a guy flying a cessna 172 who’s company does areal survey work and the track they make is identical to the one shown by the lear but obviously at lower altitudes. They only fly between 11am and 3pm in the winter time when all the leaves are off the trees so they can take photo’s during ideal conditions. They literally map out an entire county at a time.