Wrapping up Polar 6 2015

It’s been a whirlwind past couple of weeks, but now our instruments are shutdown, the last bits of data have been collected and Polar 6 is loaded and headed to Ontario. This campaign has been both challenging and rewarding. We dealt with a number of challenges both from the science side as well as with the aircraft. Despite some electrical problems, weather delays and finally a failed generator we were able to carry out ten science flights totaling just under 45 hours of airborne time. We have all learned quite a lot about how to do this kind of work in such a harsh environment, and have collected some very exciting data along the way.

We owe a lot of our success on this campaign to the Polar 6 crew from Kenn Borek Air. Left to right: captain Garry Murtsell, first officer Neil Travers, and aircraft maintenance engineer Doug Mackenzie. Photo credit: Rob Bergeron (KBAL)
We owe a lot of our success on this campaign to the Polar 6 crew from Kenn Borek Air. Left to right: captain Garry Murtsell, first officer Neil Travers, and aircraft maintenance engineer Doug Mackenzie. Photo credit: Rob Bergeron (KBAL)
Polar 6 taking off from Eureka. After a few days of waiting in dense fog in Eureka the weather cleared long enough for us to start our trip to Inuvik. Photo credit: Rob Bergeron (KBAL).
Polar 6 taking off from Eureka. After a few days of waiting in dense fog in Eureka the weather cleared long enough for us to start our trip to Inuvik. Photo credit: Rob Bergeron (KBAL).
Heiko and Julia
Heiko and Julia
Visiting 80 North
Visiting 80 North
Eureka Station
Eureka Station
Walking in Eureka
Walking in Eureka
PEARL
PEARL
Polar 5 and 6
Polar 5 and 6

We conducted two very successful science flights from Eureka. In the end this was somewhat less flying time than we had hoped for at this location, owing to dense fog during three of our six days there. We all enjoyed our time in Eureka, despite a few days of bad weather we were able to get outside for a lot of walks and make a trip to visit the PEARL research station.  After Eureka it was time to head to Inuvik for the last few days of the campaign. After a two day journey from Eureka, stopping in Resolute due to weather, we landed and Doug quickly discovered that our left hand generator needed replacement. With only a few days left, and without the required parts in Inuvik, we began to think that we might not have any further science flights. But, with an amazing effort on the part of our crew and others from KBAL the aircraft was ready to fly again within 24 hours. In the remaining two days of the campaign we carried out three science flights both to the north and to the south of Inuvik. Highlights from these flights included cloud sampling and intercepting polluted air masses with high concentrations of CO, black carbon, ozone and organic aerosol. These made for quite a contrast to some of the cleaner air masses we had encountered both in the Inuvik area and further north.

A little aircraft maintenance in Inuvik
A little aircraft maintenance in Inuvik
In the hangar working on various issues, including the generator.
In the hangar working on various issues, including the generator.

The whole Polar 6 crew in Inuvik. From left to right: Neil Travers, Megan Willis, Doug Mackenzie, Alex Lee, Quentin Libois, Garry Murtsell, Hannes Schulz, Martin Gehrmann, Julia Burkart, Heiko Bozem, Lucas Kandora, Andreas Herber. Photo credit: Julia Burk
The whole Polar 6 crew in Inuvik. From left to right: Neil Travers, Megan Willis, Doug Mackenzie, Alex Lee, Quentin Libois, Garry Murtsell, Hannes Schulz, Martin Gehrmann, Julia Burkart, Heiko Bozem, Lucas Kandora, Andreas Herber. Photo credit: Julia Burk

We are all at some stage of heading towards home at the moment. I’m flying with Polar 6, which is on its way back to Muskoka Airport now for the de-integration of instruments over the coming week. This project has been quite the experience, and now I’m looking forward getting home and having the time and mental space to look deeper into the data I have collected. 


-Megan Willis, NETCARE Graduate Student

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