802 New Initiatives in Support of the NSF/NCAR Airborne Research Instrumentation Testing Opportunity (ARISTO)

Tuesday, 8 January 2019
Hall 4 (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Louis L. Lussier III, NCAR, Broomfield, CO; and P. Romashkin, C. A. Wolff, J. Stith, and B. Baeuerle

In 2015, the National Science Foundation (NSF) began sponsoring a long-term flight testing program carried out annually on one of its research aircraft (the NSF C-130 and NSF GV), which are operated by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Both aircraft are managed by the Research Aviation Facility (RAF), which is part of NCAR’s Earth Observing Laboratory (EOL) and which is responsible for planning and executing the annual flight campaigns. The purpose of this program, known as the Airborne Research Instrumentation Testing Opportunity or ARISTO, is to provide regular flight test opportunities for newly developed or highly modified instruments as part of their development effort. The NSF community has expressed a strong desire for regularly scheduled flight-testing programs to be able to test instrumentation, data systems, inlets, and software. ARISTO allows this testing in a low-pressure environment where any issues or problems will not affect the scientific goals of a large-scale field campaign.

Successful ARISTO campaigns were conducted in 2015, 2016, and 2017 at the Research Aviation Facility located at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Broomfield, Colorado. The test series met several of the stated ARISTO objectives including: (i) pre-project testing of instruments for approved and proposed NSF field campaigns, (ii) testing newly developed instruments, and (iii) support of flight tests for students developing instruments in support of graduate degrees.

Going forward, EOL looks to enhance the ARISTO program by focusing on several areas. These efforts include:

  1. Expanding the ARISTO user base beyond traditional users
  2. Creating a more diverse and inclusive user base for ARISTO
  3. Identifying users from scientific disciplines outside of the Atmospheric Science community
  4. Expanding the geographical footprint of ARISTO users
  5. Creating a rolling application period to optimize user participation and test sequences
  6. Developing programs to “spread the word” on ARISTO throughout the community

The current talk will introduce the audience to the ARISTO program, describe the initiatives EOL is undertaking to improve the program, and solicit feedback from developers of innovative observing systems.

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