May 12, 1995

Vortex NCAR Aircraft Mission #7

Takeoff time - 1910 UTC
Landing Time - 0250 UTC


Target area was western Kansas where severe convection was expected. The Electra departed Will Rogers at 1910 UTC with the P-3 scheduled for take off at 2000. The aircraft flew over Enid and Hutchinson at 12,000'. The jet axis at this altitude was located at approximately the Oklahoma-Kansas border. After reaching Hutchinson, the Electra turned to the west and descended to 1000' AGL in search of the dryline. Dryline penetration occurred south of Ness City, Kansas at 2016 UTC. One box pattern was flown around the boundary before a growing cumulus congestus was selected as a target storm at 2058 UTC. Approximate east-west legs were flown to the south of the storm at 2000' AGL. The P-3 joined in flying a racetrack pattern on the same storm at approximately 2130 UTC at a much higher altitude. Coordination between the two aircraft began at 2152 with the Electra trailing the P-3 by approximately 4 miles. This coordination continued for most of the day until 0034 UTC when visibility deteriorated to a point that independent flight paths were chosen at two different altitudes. More racetrack patterns were flown on this storm than any other during the experiment. Reports of a well-defined mesocyclone were numerous. The decision to head back to Will Rogers was reached at 0148 UTC owing to fuel considerations.
ELDORA only operated at two frequencies for most of the mission. The problem should be fixed by the next mission. A power surge brought ELDORA down at approximately 2124 for a few minutes. The same power surge may have resulted in approximately 45 minutes of flight level data being lost.

Roger Wakimoto