Most of the rest of the time is filled with meetings to discuss logistical issues, flight planning, coordination with Air Traffic Control, and so on. The good side of all this is that it gives the instrument scientists a chance to fix the many small and large problems that come up when one takes an aircraft full of high-tech equipment through lots of atmospheric turbulence, shaking and bouncing into the hot and steamy atmosphere of the Amazon.
Wednesday, 3 September, the day after arrival, the aircraft was promptly released from customs and the scientists could begin to download their data from the transit flights and work on their instruments. A nice benefit from all this hanging around was that I got to try out the pilots seat of HALO on the ground :-))! We also found out that Friday and Sunday would be national holidays, and airport access would be limited. Nevertheless, we made plans for a research flight on Friday, always the optimists. A very interesting part of the day was a series of short presentations by the scientist to introduce their instruments and objectives to the entire team.
On Thursday we first met with the representatives of the Brazilian Air Traffic Control, two Air Force lieutenants and a Sergeant. We were also introduced to the two young Air Force lieutenants, who were going to be the observers on our research flights. We then made the detailed plans for Friday’s flight, which was going to be a 700 mile transect from the smoke-polluted area around Alta Floresta to the clean atmosphere around Boa Vista in the north.
Instead, Friday (5 Sep) was spent doing more instrument maintenance and refining our plans for a flight on Saturday. I also discussed with Danny Rosenfeld the details of the procedure for “cloud profiling”, which consists of making many passes through growing cumulus clouds from cloud base up to the ice plume that leaves the top of the clouds.