March 2, 2006
National Center for Atmospheric Research
The nation's newest and most advanced research aircraft takes off this month on its first mission, studying a severe type of atmospheric turbulence that forms over mountains and endangers airplanes. The HIAPER aircraft will fly over treacherous whirlwinds, or rotors, as they form above California's Sierra Nevada mountains.
HIAPER can fly at an altitude of 51,000 feet and has a range of 7,000 miles. It can carry 5,600 pounds of sensors. The combination of range, duration, high-altitude capability, and payload capacity place it in the top rank of U.S. research aircraft. A modified Gulfstream V jet, HIAPER is owned by the National Science Foundation and operated by the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
Credit: Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation
HIAPER (High-performance Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research) will embark on a series of 10-hour flights that will take it from its base at Jefferson County Airport in Colorado to California's Owens Valley during next month's Terrain-Induced Rotor Experiment, or T-REX. The aircraft will explore the mountain waves that form over the Sierra Nevada and are associated with the rotors, as well as study the impacts of the waves on atmospheric regions as high as the stratosphere. The research will lead to better prediction of these aviation hazards.
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National Center for Atmospheric Research. "Advanced Aircraft To Probe Hazardous Atmospheric Whirlwinds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 March 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060302175228.htm>.
National Center for Atmospheric Research. (2006, March 2). Advanced Aircraft To Probe Hazardous Atmospheric Whirlwinds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060302175228.htm
National Center for Atmospheric Research. "Advanced Aircraft To Probe Hazardous Atmospheric Whirlwinds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060302175228.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).