NASA DC-8 conducts low-altitude research over Southern California, yet to pass over SCV
By Signal Staff
The NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center’s DC-8 aircraft flew over the Los Angeles urban area Wednesday as part of a collaborative scientific research mission with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration called AEROMMA.
Wednesday was the second consecutive day that the DC-8 conducted research over parts of California. On Tuesday, the aircraft departed from Palmdale Regional Airport at 1:42 p.m. and headed north, before turning around in north-central California and conducting a zig-zag flight pattern through the Central Valley.
During the 4-hour, 57-minute flight on Tuesday, the DC-8 flew at altitudes as low as 1,000 feet before returning to the Palmdale airport. Its flight path did not take it over the Santa Clarita Valley.
On Wednesday, the DC-8 took off from Palmdale at 10:59 a.m. with a scheduled flight path that would take it over parts of Los Angeles County. Again, though, the scheduled flight path did not call for the aircraft to pass over the SCV. It spent the afternoon flying over parts of the Inland Empire, Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean.
The flight on Wednesday was scheduled to land at Santa Monica Airport at 4 p.m., but instead landed at 6:09 p.m. at the Palmdale airport, according to the flight tracking website, flightaware.com. Its closest approach to Santa Clarita was on its route back to land in Palmdale, when it briefly passed over Acton shortly before landing.
At times on Wednesday, its altitude was below 1,000 feet, according to the website.
The project measures Atmospheric Emissions and Reactions Observed from Megacities to Marine Areas. NASA issued news releases prior to the flights alerting residents in Los Angeles and surrounding communities that they may see and hear the aircraft as it collects data on air quality and pollution sources.
“As a large four-engine passenger jet outfitted with scientific equipment, the DC-8 aircraft will be hard to miss at it conducts these flights, flying at a safe altitude over some of our most densely populated areas in North America,” said the statement from NASA.
“All flyovers are conducted at a safe altitude without harm to public, wildlife, or infrastructure,” the statement added. “Jet aircraft are very loud and those with sensitivity to loud noises should be aware of the flyover window.”
Over the past two weeks, the DC-8 conducted multiple flights out of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Greene County, Ohio, and Trenton-Mercer Airport in New Jersey before heading to California on Friday.
Updates to this story will be published if this or any future flight paths for the low-altitude research project are expected to travel over the Santa Clarita Valley.