Monday, March 20, 2006


I've coined a new phrase for our instrument. It's the "NCAR 4-channel CIMS", but I've decided that it is essentially the "NCAR 2-out-of-4-ain't-bad-channel CIMS". Although yesterday, we were only operating at 25%, so I guess that wasn't "not bad".

I had my first complete bust of a flight. We had back-to-back fly days, which are interesting scientifically when everything is working, but there were some contamination issues in the HO2 inlet on Friday, and although we changed some of the most contaminated lines, the flight on Saturday proved that we hadn't done enough and it was necessary to pull the inlet off Saturday night, bring it back to the hotel, and wash the entire thing in a sink in my room here at the hotel (all 100+ pieces, ~80 of which of are o-rings and screws.) Then, yesterday morning the plan was to get to the airport 3 1/2 hours before the 11:30 flight and put the thing back together... well, it was a good idea in principle, but there just wasn't enough time. My boss and I were describing it last night to another colleague (the one who's rack is right behind us in the aircraft, and essentially breathes hot air down our necks) during dinner that there are essentially about 40 things that can easily go wrong with the inlet when you're putting it back together, and about 10 of them are obvious ones. This time it wasn't one of the obvious ones, and we were in a mad panic (big adrenaline rush) to put the thing back together just before the flight, with the flight crew watching us sideways from about 09:30 right up until 10:55, when we finally put our pylon back on (the cover over the inlet.)

We managed to get most of it to work, but there is still a fundamental problem with it, and as a result I measured about 8 1/2 hours of background HO2 and RO2. (sigh)

Today we have a hard down day, my second since I arrived down here, and as a result the inlet will have to wait until tomorrow before I can address it. We're not flying until Wednesday, though, so I'll have all day tomorrow at the plane. I just hope it'll be enough for me to get things working before the next flight.

In other news, I'm sadly stuck here in Mexico today on Keith's 34th birthday. Happy birthday, my sweet husband. I miss you. Everyone else, please be good to him. He's embarking on 2 weeks of single parenting, now that his mom and Aunt Jill have flown back to Toronto. And while we're on the topic of Keith's birthday, happy first day of spring, Christian.

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