Summary & Lessons Learned

Summary of the TECPEC campaign

Flight summaries and access to data can be found at Table 1 summaries the 8 research flights. 5 flights took place during 21-23 March, centered around the Open House in Salt Lake City. Many students from UW and UU participated in the research flights; in addition to the 12 students listed in Table 1, three more students (all from UW) participated in the test flights before the start of the campaign. Of these, 14 were graduate students, and one was a UU undergraduate student.


Lessons learned

In summary, TECPEC mainly involved graduate students, with 11 graduate students from UW in two classes, and 15 graduate students from UU in two classes. Some 31 undergraduate from UU in one class also were involved, through the examination of air quality flight data, and through the participation in weather briefings, balloon launches, and flights. 

The TECPEC campaign was a great opportunity for students to get a feeling of what it is like to participate in a “real” (research-focused) field campaign, and how to conduct actual research with the data collected. Through the daily planning meetings, students learned how to develop a flight pattern and some actually had the chance to direct the flight. Such opportunities are unique: in most research projects, students may participate in flights by operating instruments, but rarely do they have opportunities to fully direct a flight. Students gained much confidence in observational research as they learned how to analyze the data and how to come up with meaningful plots that they used in their written or oral reports. In short, they had the tools in hand to use the TECPEC data in their MS or PhD level research, and, as mentioned above, at 10 least three students will do just that, and invariably, TECPEC data will be used in their dissertations and publications. Other student participants are using similar airborne atmospheric data in their research, e.g. from the 2018 WECAN campaign; these students gained further proficiency with research aircraft data files, and some tools to analyze them. For the undergraduate students, this invariably was a more superficial experience, but nevertheless TECPEC may motivate a few to apply to graduate school in due time, to pursue related research. Finally, an Open House is a nice opportunity to showcase the facility to even younger students and the public at large, and is recommended as a must in all educational campaigns.