Mission Summary
20080818N1 Aircraft 49RF
Fay flight 2008

Aircraft Crew (49RF)
Aircraft CommanderMichelle Finn
Flight DirectorMarty Mayeaux
DropsondeMike Black
AVAPSAl Goldstien
Dale Carpenter

Figure 1. Planned track of N49. Small circles along the flight track are dropsonde locations.

Mission Plan :

This mission was tasked by NHC as the 3rd in a series of synoptic surveillance flights around TS Fay. Prior to the flight, Fay was approaching west-central Cuba from the south and heading north over Cuba to a forecast landfall over west Florida in a couple of days. Fay had maximum winds of 50 kt but was forecast to strengthen over the Florida straits the following day. The planned track for the mission, which was hand drawn by NHC (Fig. 1) would sample the high pressure system to the east of Florida, head south and fly between Haiti and Cuba, head to the west south of Fay before heading to the Gulf of Mexico to sample the eastern portion of an approaching trough in the northern Gulf. The plan was to release 27 dropsondes along the proposed track. During the preflight briefing we decided to extend the most NW portion of our flight to the west by 2 degrees and add 2 more dropsondes there. CARCAH and NHC were consulted and agreed that this would be deirable.

Synoptic Surveillance

August 16, 2008 11:30 AM
Aircraft: N49RF
Altitude: FL410-450
Proposed takeoff: 18/0530Z
(d m)
(d m)
131 0078 00
231 0075 30
331 0073 00
429 3073 00
528 0073 00
628 0075 00
728 0077 00
826 1577 00
924 3077 00
1023 1575 30
1122 0074 00
1220 3073 30
1319 0074 00
1419 0076 30
1519 0079 00
1619 3081 30
1720 0084 00
1821 3085 30
1923 0087 00
2023 4585 30
2124 3084 00
2226 0084 00
2326 0086 30
2426 0089 00
2528 3089 00
2628 3087 00
2728 3085 00

Take off Landing
MacDill AFB, FL05:15 UTC MacDill AFB, FL13:45 UTC

Mission Summary :

N49 took off from MacDill at 0515 UTC and headed east over Florida to the western Atlantic to begin our mission. We dropped a total of 32 dropsondes, 3 of which were backups to sondes that failed. Drop # 2 was a fast wall and only the data from the backup was transmitted. Drop # 3 did not report winds and, again, the data from a backup was transmitted. From then on, all of the sondes were good until drop # 17 that had only a few wind measurements. The backup was again used for data transmission.

Figure 2 shows the synoptic maps of the observations at the mandatory levels. During the flight we traversed a few areas of moderate convection, but did not experience any significant turbulence. We landed back at MacDill about 1345 UTC. The final G-IV mission was scheduled for 1730 UTC on that same day.

100 mb

200 mb

500 mb

700 mb

850 mb

surface mb

Figure 2. Synoptic observations from the G-IV flight at the 150,200,500, 700,850 bb, and at the surface.

Problems :

Besides, the 3 sondes already mentioned, very few problems occurred during the flight. There were a few failures of transmission of the TEMPDROP message but thanks to X-chat capability with CARCAH, these were easily found and the data was retransmitted successfully. There were a couple of problems running the ASPEN software in which the heights were not coded properly or were missing. Reprocessing these two sondes resulted in the corrected data being transmitted and was confirmed by CARCAH.

Michael Black

Mission Data :

Page last updated September 3, 2008
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