May 2, 2012 in News
Kiruna Sweden – March 2012
Words and Pictures by David Simpson - Directflight Operations Coordinator – ARA Operations
The team have just returned from a successful Science Campaign to Kiruna in the Arctic north of Sweden. This was on behalf of the UK Met Office, along with the University of Edinburgh, the National Centre for Earth Observation and the Finnish Meteorological Institute.
The Campaign was entitled MEVALI which is an acronym for Microwave Emission Validation over sub-Arctic Lake Ice. For more detailed information follow this link. Faam Campaigns
Kiruna is a center for various cold weather operations such as Science campaigns, cold weather testing of new aircraft by Boeing and Airbus and Space exploration testing by the Virgin Galactic team. Our stay coincided with the combined winter exercises of the Swedish/Norwegian/Finnish armed forces. Our home was in the specially built and dedicated Arena Arctica hangar www.arenaarctica.com which offered lots of room and fantastic facilities.
We experienced very challenging operating conditions whilst there. The average winter temperature can be down to minus 30c and lower. Luckily for us our campaign operated in March towards the end of the winter when the weather had started to improve. During our time in Kiruna the temperature warmed up from minus 18c to zero by the time we departed. The low temperatures dictated our pre flight warm up of the aircraft and instruments, which start four hours before departure, had to be achieved in the hangar. The aircraft was only pushed out just before departure with all crew, (science and pilots), etc onboard.
Our flights were approximately five hours in duration. These took us into Finland over various lakes, south Sweden following satellite overpasses for calibrating purposes, north of Sweden and Norway and out into the northern North sea.