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The Winter 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist includes a variety of educational resources, ranging from astronomy to glaciers. Check out the other publications and classroom materials in our online store.

    Courtesy of Brigitte Baeuerle

From: Brigitte Baeuerle
Arica, Chile, October 30, 2008

Planning an Aircraft Intercomparison Flight

Hola,

In this picture, Rob and the other aircraft scientists are planning the seventh VOCALS research flight, which will happen early on the morning of Halloween.

Part of the reason for this flight is to compare the NSF/NCAR C-130 and the FAAM Bae-146 aircraft. This is called an intercomparison flight. We refer to an intercomparison flight when two or more research aircraft fly wing tip to wing tip measuring similar data with their instruments. Because these data are collected in the same airspace but with different instruments, researchers can learn how accurate their measurements are and whether or not they are experiencing any data biases that require correction during the data processing stage.

Intercomparison flights can be quite challenging for our pilots. Similar to formation flying, they have to carefully plan each maneuver, and determine well in advance at what altitude, speed, and separation they will be flying together.

Brigitte

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