HIPPO III: Research Flight 04 - Hawaii to American Samoa

March 31, 2010

RF04 to Samoa was a success!

The NSF/NCAR GV received clearance to climb to 41,000 ft near 5 degrees N, allowing the science team to be the first in HIPPO to get insight into the atmospheric cross section near the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). The conversion zone itself was located South of 5°N, and the GV descended right through the middle of it. Turbulence was minimal, and the area did not look "tropical" as people are used to seeing the tropics: it was overcast, with tall clouds everywhere and three to four layered decks of clouds, with overshooting convective towers and anvils at 50,000 feet and above, stretching for many miles. The overcast weather changed to the "tropical" one only by 4°S.

Arriving in Pago Pago, American Samoa, the GV met 89°F weather and high humidity, causing the air conditionning vents in the airplane to start fogging once the doors were open. Moisture immediately condensed on all items taken outside, including people. Their hands were cold, from being in the air conditioned cabin,  and water condensed on the skin when they walked out on the ramp!

The flight path consisted of 4 dips over the open ocean and traveled approximately 2540 miles (2207 nautical miles or 4087 km).

Bye, bye: Hawaii!

The GV flying over the Equator in real-time on Google Earth!

Intertropical Convergence Zone

Intertropical Convergence Zone

Clouds in the Southern Hemisphere

Hello: American Samoa!

American Samoa

Landing in American Samoa

The ENTIRE Team in Pago Pago, American Samoa


VIDEO: RF04 Forward Looking Camera