Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sprites 2013: Update #2


We flew again the other night. The storm, over much of the Oklahoma / Missouri / Arkansas area, was massive and producing a ton of lightning.

Hans and Ryan looking at weather data and planning a course before takeoff.

We took off and headed that way, but cut a corner too close and got stuck in the cirrus clouds, unable to see either stars in the sky or cities on the ground. Just a black void out the window. After turning south and flying for a while, we came into clear air, cut north and ran up the east side of the storm through western Tennessee. At this point, after wasting ~2 hours of flight time, we started seeing a few sprites, and managed to record 11 on high speed with spectra. Not bad, but not really that good either. At least it was something.

Me sitting in the trigger seat with the log in my lap and my thumb on the trigger.

Later on, I saw a bright meteor - or at least it was bright on the low light camera. I trigger the high speeds so we got spectra of the meteor as well. Totally unrelated to what we were doing, but neat anyway. Also, while sitting and watching the screen for sprites, I watched a pixel die and become 'hot'. I've never seen that before.

Last night the weather was unpromising so we stayed on the ground and fixed an issue with light leaks: The dark cloth we had attached around the windows to keep reflections out of the cameras wasn't working too well. So we hung some new dark cloth which I think is a much better design, and that has nothing to do with the fact that I designed it. We then finished up the night by walking into a bar 10 minutes before close (at midnight... : / )

Weather looks dull tonight and tomorrow too, my guess is we won't fly tonight and will call a down day tomorrow so we can be ready to fly anytime this weekend, when the potential for big storms increases again.

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