The University of Maryland aircraft performed two (2) research flights
(RF-03 and RF-04) on Monday April 23 over the Richmond, VA (RIC) area.
The purpose of these flights was to evaluate several pre-selected
locations for vertical survey spirals that might be represetative of
the lower troposphere over the VADEQ radar profiler with RASS recently
installed at the Virginia Science Museum (VSM) near downtown Richmond,
this under upper-level flow conditions similar to a summertime ridging
Aircraft instruments mostly performed well, except for some problems
with the CO analyzer - causing signal noise throughout and the loss of
data for the morning traverse to RIC and one AM profile. We'll work on
this problem in the lab over the next week.
A brief summary of the flights is given in the "Research Flight (RF)
Summaries:" section. Only moderate ozone levels (up to 60 ppbv)
aloft were observed, consistent with season and the prevailing flow.
The three (3) locations evaluated - forming a triangle roughly 10-15
miles around VSM - showed no substantive differences in meteorology (T,
RH) and chemistry (ozone) from the surface to 2.1 Km MSL. Data for CO
and SO2 require substantial processing, and are not
presently available. These preliminary data suggest profiles at
the three (3) locations were remarkably consistent during the afternoon
flight, when the planetary boundary layer (PBL) was nearing its fully
developed state. Comparisons with the VSM profiler will be conducted
when the data become available from VADEQ. No problems were encountered
with air traffic control in the area during these first flights in the
RIC area, and we expect to be able to perform all currently planned
flight patterns in the future without air traffic problems.