Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Confessions of a model monkey on his first reality tour: part 1

Post by Paul Palmer

It was only when the FAAM BAe146 aircraft taxied into Halifax airport at the start of BORTAS I suddenly realised how real this experiment was. What had I got myself into?! Sure, I was reasonably prepared but as a model monkey (cf: lab monkey) I usually get to hang around computers and whiteboards and only use data other people collect from their instruments. Here I was with the responsibility to direct this multi-million pound mobile atmospheric laboratory towards fires that are difficult to predict and their resulting pollutant plumes that are, at best, elusive because of their thin layered structure. No plumes to intercept would have serious implications for a number of PhDs and postdoc careers. No pressure, then.

By the time the plane finally stopped and opened its doors, most of the science team were milling around with their bright yellow hi-visibility vests and their identification badges around their necks eagerly waiting to chat with the team that ran instruments on the transit from the UK to Halifax, and to check on their own instruments. I boarded the plane and asked around to see whether the team had intercepted any plumes as they travelled across the Atlantic. Good news, they had seen plumes broadly where the computer model predicted they would be. So far so good.


  1. interesting blog. It would be great if you can provide more details about it.

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  2. Hi, sorry for the delay in replying, what sort of details would you like?

  3. You did a great job on this experiment. Can you please share other stories about your reality tours?

    - Aviation Test Equipment