Archive for flights

Research flight 6

Oy! Tuesday morning (Monday for you western hemisphere-types) we flew the first night mission, with takeoff at 2:00 AM. The night flights are essential because most of the processes we’re studying are driven by photochemistry, so the transition from night-to-day is important to record. It just means that we don’t get much sleep! My pre-flight sleep was also disturbed a bit by the presence of Alan (named after our esteemed mission scientist), a humongous spider that appeared in my room after dinner, and who was just too scary to try to kill. I decided that if I didn’t bother him, he wouldn’t bother me, although it was a bit difficult lying in bed in the dark wondering what Alan was up to at that very moment.  I posted a picture below. I actually thought about putting something in the frame for scale, but just could not bear to put my hand near the pincers. I would estimate Alan is about 5 inches in diameter.

Alan the spider. Click at your own risk. Especially you, Nicole.

Edited to add:  I have found Alan the spider online!  Apparently it is a male Huntsman or Banana Spider, which are harmless and like to roam about and eat cockroaches.  In that case, Alan the spider is welcome in my room anytime. As long as he keeps his distance.

Comments (4)

It’s a hard day down

There are three types of days here: flight days, maintenance days, and hard down days (no access to the C-130 = forced day off). Right now we fly three days a week, with 2 maintenance days in between each flight and a down day thrown in there for good measure. It’s a much more difficult process to plan these weeks than I ever would have expected, because we have to somehow merge the needs of the scientists with the needs of the crew, which don’t seem to match very often. Most of the scientiss here would happily work 7 days a week with 4 or 5 flights, but are held back by the rules surrounding how long the crew can be on duty and how many days out of the week the airplane can fly. It’s basically the flight crew that allows us this non-insane schedule, and I am very grateful for them and their hard down days.

Tomorrow is our hard down day, so I’m trying to decide whether to go snorkeling or not, because the last time I burned myself to crispy crispness. I think it’s supposed to rain anyway, so I might be in here blogging all day! For the record, the snorkeling was very nice, but not nearly as impressive as the Great Barrier Reef. But the day was spectacular because it was just so secluded and peaceful.

Leave a Comment

Research Flight 2

Buzzing the hotelBuzzing the hotel, part 2Buzzing the hotel, part 3

I’ll admit that I did not take these pictures, for the simple reason that I was on the plane while they were shot! This was our landing approach to Christmas after a 9 hour research flight last Saturday, and apparently the pilots decided to pull a Top Gun and buzz the hotel for the pleasure of a group of Australian fisherman. Fortunately one of our programmers heard the C130 approach and ran out with his camera. Next time I have to go up to the cockpit and get pictures from the inside!

Leave a Comment