The first DIAMET fight (and my first flight!)

Written by Ali Rudd

Saturday, 17 September 2011 12:12

Yesterday (16th Sept 2011) was my first flight on the FAAM aircraft. So here's how my trip to Cranfield panned out.

Thurs 15th September:

1240Z Oscar and I set off from Reading.

1415Z We arrived at Cranfield

We picked up a parking permit from the Main Reception and headed in search of the "pink cube" to meet up with the rest of the DIAMET gang. We got my Directflight ID pass from DFL (thanks Alan!) and then a swipe card for the cube building. After this we set up internet access on our laptops and caught up on the day's emails.

1700Z We set off for the Travelodge at Marston Moretaine. Checked in and had some dinner at the Little Chef – surprisingly good and next to the hotel so we didn't have to venture far Smile. The hotel is basic but if you're driving to the airfield it is nice and close (~10/15mins drive). Early to bed as it was going to be an early start! 

Fri 16th September:

0400Z Get up, pack and get ready for the day's flight.

0440Z Check out of the hotel.

0500Z At FAAM

Mission scientists go through the latest forecasts (although many of the products hadn't been updated overnight ). Discussions are had with the pilots about the route taking into account all the info available. Sortie brief updated, printed and handed out to those involved in the day's flying.

0630Z Flight briefing

Briefing for everyone going on the aircraft. Geraint went through the sortie brief. We were planning on staying in Irish airspace to avoid complications with crossing between different air traffic control zones.

0800Z Security – everyone and their bags are searched before boarding the aircraft.


0835Z Taxi

0843Z Take off

We flew west out to Ireland and had a high level dropsonde leg, 9 sondes were dropped. We appeared to pass through the PV anomaly and tropopause fold. Then we flew NE towards Dublin. Then flew over towards Liverpool in a 2 way air lane above North Wales. We did some transects here measuring cloud microphysics and chemistry. The first leg was a high level leg then we did 4 other legs at levels based on data from the dropsondes. We then flew south down the coast of Ireland and back to Cranfield. Thanks to Tim B, Phil R and Geraint for showing me the ropes!


1330Z (approx) landed.

1400Z De-brief – Mission Scientist (Keith B) summarised the day's flight and thanked the aircrew for a marvellous job at getting us permission to fly in busy airspace. The instrument operators updated everyone on the behaviour of the instruments and we were updated on the plans for next week. After a quick check of emails we set off for Reading! (1440Z)

I really enjoyed my first flight and look forward to going on the aircraft again

screen shot 2011-09-16 at 14.00.24

Flight track 16/09/2011