From Dirk (ESA), the Netherlands, 7 September
I'm just back in the Netherlands after my stint working on the campaign over Greece and Turkey to collect measurements of aerosols. So unfortunately, I wasn't able to join the crew on yesterday's campaign flight.
Nevertheless, I still felt very much part of the team as we communicated throughout the five-hour flight by means of an online chat room – there is an internet connection on the plane.
Being able to do this just made me think how cool technology is – so, guys on the plane, a team from the UK Met Office, the ground team in Greece and myself were all able to discuss some of the ad hoc changes we had to make during the flight and all be involved in how the flight and data acquisitions were progressing.
As it turned out, the Turkish military were carrying out some exercises in the area so we couldn't fly the route we'd originally planned. Hence, the online chat option proved an excellent tool to discuss what to do for the best.
The flight scored an 8/10 on the achievement ratings, which is pretty good considering we lost marks for not being able to follow our planned path!
They collected data on aerosols very high in the atmosphere and over Crete they may have even picked up some dust blowing from the Sahara.
Since I have been unable take photos of the outside of the plane or even of any views from the plane because of military action in the area, I thought I'd share a couple of photos from inside.
You can see that, indeed, the interior the usual cabin-shaped cabin but instead of seats it's crammed with equipment. There are in-flight services though …. the flight attendants serve drinks and snacks!