Jackson Jet Center personnel assisted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, during their participation in the 2019 NOAA/NASA FIREX-AQ. The FIREX-AQ stands for “Fire Influence on Regional to Global Environments and Air Quality”. It is a joint venture headed by NASA and NOAA and observes and investigates and impact that wildfires and agricultural fires have on the overall air quality and climate in the continental United States.
Brent Eborn, FBO Manager at Jackson Jet Center, said his team thoroughly enjoyed working with the NOAA/NASA team. He stated, “they had two Twin Otters and a DC-8 that essentially acts as flying laboratories. It was a great experience for our team to get a first-hand look at how our government agencies are working to improve our quality of life.”
The NASA DC-8 is a highly-modified jetliner and operates under the NASA Science Mission Directorate. Scientists on board this aircraft can follow wildfire plumes as far as the east coast or to southern California in a single flight when departing from Jackson Jet Center.
The two Twin Otters consisted of the NOAA-CHEM and the NOAA-MET versions of this airframe. According to the FIREX-AQ website, the NOAA-CHEM Twin Otter focuses on the “variability of the emissions measuring close to a wildfire for extended time periods, the fast evolution of smoke in the first few hours after emission, and the vertical distribution in the concentration, composition and optical properties of smoke in regionally impacted western valleys.” The NOAA-MET Twin Otter takes readings to “characterize the horizontal and vertical wind fields, plume geometry, and fire radiative power associated wildland fires.”
The work performed by the FIREX-AQ teams provide researchers around the world with valuable data on how wildfires impact our atmosphere and our people.