tirsdag 27. juli 2010

Yes, we are still very much alive here at Summit.

....but, we have been experiencing some network problems and the charger of my Eee decided to die on me without warning. This and a ever increasing workload have prevented me from doing as much updates as I would have liked. But I will still try to give a short recap of the last few weeks main events. As I seem to have a lot of trouble to get pictures uploaded, I will try to add them later this week.

While we were waiting for our repared Trios instruments to arrive, Torbjørn and I put together a second Cryowing airframe, so now we now have a spare, in case of a major misshap. We also spent a day helping Wiley doing ground based measurements off camp. That ment that we had to travel some 40km. with snowmobiles. We had a long but great day with no wind and more sun than my face liked. Thanks Wiley, for letting us take part in your snow-geeking, it was great fun.

We also got to visit the Flux facility just before thy started to take the place appart. This must be the most advanced science building at Summit. It is completely bellow ground and so full of scientific equipemt that it looked like a spacestation. Louisa Kramer took her time and gave us a great tour of the facility. If you want to know more about Flux and the science that was being done there please have a look at this site

Last wednesday we had a crew change here at Summit. The head of UAS operations, Rune Storvold arrived with our repared, and long awaited Trios spectrometers. The crewchange also ment that Torbjorn Houge, who had been piloting the Cryowing for the last month had to go back to civilization again. Thanks for a great month Torbjørn! On Friday John Burkhart, who is leading the science part of the project arrived.

When it comes to the flying bit, which this blog was supposed to be about, well, we are still having problems with the Iridium modem. (I think it may be afraid of flying?) In spite of the problems we managed a short flight yesterday, and the Trios seems to be working well. I hope we get to perform a longer (70km+) flight before we leave Summit the 13th of August. But I guess that will be up to Mr. Murphy and the Iridium gods.

søndag 11. juli 2010

More updates from Greenland.

Tomorrow I`ve spent two weeks here at Summit. The last week has been quite exciting with lots of ups and downs. On Monday we had a mis-launch of the Cryowing when the brute force from the catapult shred one of the tailplanes leaving the airframe uncontrollable after it left the launch rail. The resulting crash was not very hard and the aiframe only got some minor damage.

By Thursday we`d all been working hard, and the plane was ready for another flight, after som re-engineering of the tailmounts. This time the launch was uneventfull and 1 hour and 10 minutes of flying time was rewarded with one of the smoothest landings I`ve ever performed. But as I said there has been lots of ups and downs this week...

After retriving the plane we started to transfer the scientific data that we had collected during the flight. We the discovered that the albedo mesuring spectrometers onboard had stoppet and that we only had been recording data for the first 5 min. Bummer!

The next few days Torbjørn spent a lot of time trying to find out what had gone wrong. At first we thought that this was a simple software problem that could be fixed easily. After emailing back and forth with our engineers in Tromsø and the producer of the instrument we discovered that the problem was a hardware problem that wasn`t going to an easy fix out here in the field.

Since we only have on working set of spectrometers that are being used by Wiley for ground measurements, we have to wait until the next Herc arrives with replacements the 21st of July. Until then we`ll spend the time on getting a second airframe ready...

Well, enough airplane talk for now. Let`s talk a bit about life at Summit:

First of all I have to say that the food up here is GREAT! Tina, our chef makes sure that we all get fed well. One thing I`ve noticed is that I drink about three times as much water up here then what I do back home. This is a result of the thin air and lack of moisture.

Sleeping in tents is not as bad as it sounds. The first nights I had a problem with my sleeping bag freezeing around the opening because of my breathing. I also had some problems with nosebleeds in the morning. This problems went away by them self within the first week. Even if its -27 degrees celsius some nights I`m really not cold. A great tip is to use a bottle of hot water in the fot-end of the sleeping bag. Another thing is to drink water before going to sleep as this helps to increase the blood volume. On the other hand, having to go to the toillet in the middle of the night is a pain...Since I came up here, construction workers have been working hard on raising the "Big House" .

The Big House needs to be raised because the Greenland icecap is accumulating each year with 1-3m depending on where its measured. The Big House is where we eat all our meals and spend some of our freetime, when we are lucky enough to have some.

The people up here is like a big family and everyone feel as a part of it, whatever nationality. We are a mixed group ranging from construction workers to scientists and arcitects. The one thing we all have in common is a love for the Arctic and outdoor lifestyle. Some of the people have spent most of their grown up life traveling and working at different Arctic locations, including Antarctica. Most of the people are Americans from Alaska, but we even have people from New Zealand working here.

This week I also got to take part in some of Wileys ground research and collected my very first snow samples. Yesterday I also got to have a drink with ice that came from deep core samples. This ice is supercompressed and several thousand years old. It makes a "popping" sound in the drink or on your tounge when it realeases air that probably have been trapped for longer than we humans have been here.

lørdag 3. juli 2010

Today we finally got to perform a flight...

After batteling technical communication problems for several days we finally got the Cryowing in the air. The aircraft performed great and the thin air didn`t give to much trouble during takeoff and landing. Tonight me and the rest of the team will have a small Cognac to celebrate.

Today it`s been almost a week since I arrived here at Summit. Living up here is not as hard as one would think... The food is mostly great and the people staying here are very friendly and welcoming. I didn`t get the mountain sickness inspite of beeing 3200m (10695ft.) above sea level. Only the first day was a bit hard with my hart rate staying above 100bpm. for the first few hours. The hardes part is actually the sunlight, both when flying and when trying to sleep. The sun is a lot brighter than anything I`ve seen, and walking outside without sunglasses is almost impossible, and not recomended.

The other night we had -27 degrees celsius which is actually pretty cold considering that we`re in the begining of July. But a god sleeping bag and some preplaning makes it much more comfortable than it sounds. Only going to the toilett in the middle of the night can be all other than a fun experience...

onsdag 30. juni 2010

Some pictures from Kanger and Summit.

Just a quick update with some pictures from Kanger and Summit. The resolution is not much to write home about, but it is what is doable on a satelite link. The pictures are "clickable".

søndag 27. juni 2010

Introducing the VAUUAV project.

As I`m writing this I`m sitting in my room at the K.I.S.S building in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. I`m on my way to the Summit station at 32oom above sea level where I will spend the next 7 weeks as a part of the team that will do scientific measurements for the VAUUAV project. More about the VAUUAV project can be found here

My job will mainly be piloting the Cryowing UAS and maintainance between flights. Spending my summer on the icecap of Greenland will be exciting and different experience that I`m looking forward to, but at the same I know it may sometimes be a though experience. I`m wondering how its going to be, spending the nights in a tent without heating when the outside temperature is between -10 and -20 degrees. Also being almost completely isolated from the rest of the world for the next seven weeks may be hard. I`m already looking forward to when I get to see my girlfriend again.

My C-130 flight to Summit is supposed to be leaving early tomorrow morning. I`ll be writing more on this blog when I get settled in at Summit. Now I`m very tired after two days of travelling and I really need to get some sleep.