HIPPO III: Research Flight 02 - Northern Polar Region

March 26, 2010

The crew seemed particularly excited about the northern polar flight, from Anchorage, AK to 85° north, back to Anchorage. The prospects of seeing the data in real-time while flying over this amazing landscape had both the pilots and scientists buzzing with excitement pre-flight.

Data collection went smooth, and all instruments were working properly. Unfortunately, no polar bears were sighted in the polar regions. However, the crew aboard the GV was treated to an amazing view of Mt. McKinley and the surrounding Alaskan topography.

Two missed approaches were performed during Research Flight 02: one at Fairbanks Airport (FAI) and another at Dead horse Airport (SCC), near Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Once over the sea-ice, three more dips were performed, and none were performed once they turned back towards Anchorage, AK at 85° north, to conserve fuel enabling them to fly as far north as they did. The dips and missed approaches allow the scientist to collect data of vertical profiles of the atmosphere. The flight was able to reach 85° north due to the direct linear flight plan, which is the farthest north that the HIPPO crew has flown to sample the atmosphere. The aircraft is unable to fly to 90° north, or the North Pole because they need to be able to fly out and back from Anchorage, AK safely on one load of fuel.

GV preparing for a landing in Anchorage,
AK after the polar flight

GV appraoching the Anchorage, AK
airportat the end of RF02

Sea Ice & Left Wing


Harvard team at 85° north

Inlet Shadows

Missed approach at Deadhorse
Airport, AK

Jasna Pitmann working on the
CO2 Instrument

Northern Alaska
Northern Alaska


VIDEO: HIPPO III RF02 from Forward Looking Camera