November 16, 2009
The NSF/NCAR GV flew from Honiara, Solomon Islands back to Kona, Hawaii on the longest flight so far in HIPPO I and HIPPO II, lasting almost 9 hours and traveling 3,300 nautical miles (3,800 miles). Along the way the NSF/NCAR GV performed 6 dips to collect samples to compose vertical profiles of the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean. The long distance covered by the NSF/NCAR GV dictated that a large section be flown at cruise altitude to save fuel, so we could not do as many dips as we would have liked (see flight path image above).
The HIPPO II Field Catalog posts all of the images from each flight taken from the forward-looking camera. You can also choose to watch the images from each day play consecutively.
To their dismay, the HIPPO team discovered that the well-cleaned and well-covered VCSEL instrument did not have any laser intensity again, but in the air nothing could be done about that. Fortunately, later on the maintenance day they discovered and cleaned off a layer of yellowish organic film on both mirrors; how it get under the tight fitting cover is a mystery. Their best guess is that a fungus probably grew underneath the cover overnight. In addition, the right dew point sensor stopped working and the digital camera on the wing worked intermittently. Tropical conditions with high humidity, condensation and corrosion are an extremely difficult environment for airborne instruments.
Video: RF08 Forward Looking Camera