Archive for the ‘RU27 Atlantic Crossing Preflight’ Category

News from Svalbard

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Hey guys

Sorry for the delay getting these posts up, we know how anxious you all are to hear how we are doing up here in the far north

. Starting with the trip over, all flights went smoothly and we ended up in Longyearbyen on Svalbard Sunday afternoon where we were instantly taken aback by the allure of the surrounding snow covered mountains. However we were surprised to see a thermometer actually read -20° C. Longyearbyen is a small mining town actually founded by an American who’s last name was longyear (byen is Norwegian for city). The town is pretty small only having about 40 km of roads and is set up with a main street running through the middle of the town with most housing just a short distance away.

After entering the airport, we saw Mark(professor at Cal Poly) and Geir(professor at NTNU/UNIS) waiting for us with their NORUS sign where the rest of our company also gathered. The group ranges from the Rutgers undergrads to graduating seniors mastersand post doc students from Cal Poly and NTNU and the accompanying professors. Later that day Geir and Mark took us on a tour of a near by mountain where we saw a greater view of the surrounding area along with fish and seal drying racks, sled dog kennels, giant satellite dishes, the Northern Lights Observatory, and Santa’s house! Unfortunately we were all a bit under-dressed so we weren’t too keen about leaving the van for long periods of time. Starting that night we had the first of many meals from the Kroa restaurant where we have had a variety of local dishes including grilled and raw whale, stockfish, fish cakes, venison, and reindeer. On Monday we had our safety training session for snowmobiling, but we were all disappointed to find out there wasn’t enough time to go to the shooting range where we were supposed to learn to defend ourselves from possible polar bear attacks. Afterwards Geir gave us a tour of the UNIS(University Center in Svalbard) building and we got settled into our conference room where we were given a quick overview of what we would be doing over the course of the week. Tuesday we met back in the NORUS room and each of the professors, Mark(Cal Poly), Geir(NTNU/UNIS), Chris(Cal Poly), Jorgen(UNIS), and Oscar(Rutgers) through teleconference gave talks on their backgrounds and what work they are currently doing. Wednesday, the professors let the students take charge of the conversation and we came up with what was posted on our blog from the 18th. On Thursday we went snowmobiling (or as the locals call it, snow scootering) to Barentsburg, which is a small Russian settlement west of Longyearbyen. Over the past couple days there had been some wind and precipitation so the trails had a covering of loose snow. This lead to all of the American students tipping the snowmobiles, but luckily no one got hurt. Overall however it was an amazing journey riding over the glaciers and through valleys to our destination. Barentsburg is a small Russian mining town that had some success while the Soviet Union was still in one piece, but since then they have gone pretty far down hill and many of the buildings are now worn down and abandoned. But upon arrival we went to a restaurant where they were waiting for us with a nice hot meal of soup, chicken, and wafers. The ride back was a completely different experience from the ride there because the sun had set behind the mountains by the time we left the settlement, so we traveled by twilight and the headlights of the snow scooters. After returning back to town we sat down to a fancy dinner of scallops, reindeer, spiced ice cream and a variety of wines after which we all sleepily returned to our rooms. Finally today we had a quick session reviewing what we have covered this week and then gave our blessings to part of our group, as they had to leave. Tomorrow we plan on taking a quick trip to the Svalbard museum and after lunch going on a hike to the ice caves and exploring so we will give you an update on that later.

Hope everyone else is well!

Pictures from Svalbard

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Here are pictures form the island! Included are the tour around the island, and the snowscooter trip to barentsburg!

1) Neilsen with frosty

2) the NORUS group at dinner


4)The three of us in front of the 'watch for polar bears' sign

5)The mountains

6)Dani and I off the plane in Svalbard

7) View from the hotel in Tromso

Caribbean Test Flight

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

RU25 has put out to sea.  Its our first deep glider.  Rated to 1000 m depth.  The rest of our fleet are the shallow Slocum gliders, rated to 200 m but with enhanced manueverability to get in and out of tight places, like the shallows of the Jersey coast or the British Base in Rothera, Antarctica.  So take everything we do with our shallow gliders, and now do it in deep water in slow motion.  Plan your turns well in advance.

Chip and Ethan just spent a couple weeks in Saint Thomas with Teledyne Webb Research learning the ins and outs of deep flight.  We were hosted by our Caribbean Regional Association partners at the University of the Virgin Islands. After a series of short test flights, the deep glider was deployed and sent south, flying away from Charlotte Amalie. On tuesday evening, Feb 3, control of RU25 was transferred from St. Thomas to the  Rutgers COOLroom in New Jersey.  On wednesday morning, Josh and I held our usual Atlantic Crossing class in the COOLroom, and the students picked their first waypoint for this training flight.  Later that afternon on February 4, John retasked RU25 and sent it flying southwest towards deeper water and Puerto Rico.  Our objective is to link up with a research cruise being conducted by another set of CaRA partners from the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez.  Jorge Corredor and Julio Morell would be heading out to sea on the R/V Bold just south of their Lajas shore lab.  Lee Kerkhof  from Rutgers lead the team to Puerto Rico in 2007 for our first glider deployment in the Caribbean and subsequent recovery by the R/V Bold.  If we play our cards right, the R/V Bold could start making a habit of glider recovers.

Tonight we are approaching our initial waypoint on this southwest course.  Once we get there, we turn due west and run along the break in the topography to Waypoint #1, the location of Jorge and Julio's cruise.  its just over 140 km away, and we have about a week to get there.


To see if we can make it, John uploaded the Navy's NCOM forecast into Google Earth.  He spent the last couple of weeks with our NATO partners in Italy and returned with a few tricks in his software toolkit.  Plotted below are the surface current vectors in white and the sea surface temperature in colors.


To link up with the cruise, we'll try to run straight west along the outer edge of the coastal current along the southern shore of Puerto Rico.  If we need to speed up, we'll shift the track northward into the stronger currents but into shallower water.   The alternate route is to follow that cold yellow filament extended southwest from waypoint zero as it wraps around a clockwise circulating eddy.  While we'd like to survey this eddy before the shipboard cruise, we are a bit worried about its western side, and how it merges with a larger and stonger clockwise eddy located south of the Dominican Republic. If we get caught up in that eddy south of DR, it is hard to see a deepwater path the gets us into the Mona Passage and back to Puerto Rico. 

RU25 also has barely a couple weeks time on its clock, so we want to gain a bit more confidence with it before we try too much. Chip and Ethan head over to Puerto Rico tomorrow in case they are needed. We suspect the glider will be fine, and that they will spend most of their time in Puerto Rico setting up a CODAR network to map surface currents.

ru27 Has arrived and is ready to fly.

Friday, February 6th, 2009

Over the past few weeks our newest glider, ru27, has gone through many growing phases. Named for the year when Charles Lindberg flew across the Atlantic (1927), ru27 is the newest stretch glider, currently being prepared to be sent across the Atlantic.

Its life began at Webb corporation in North Falmouth Massachusetts, where Dave and I traveled to send ru27 out on its maiden voyage in Ashumet pond.

 Once at the pond, and after an hour or so of ice breaking missions,  we were able to travel out onto the pond to place it into the water.  There we ran through some abort missions, and sent it on a fake flight around the pond.  Looking at the flight dynamics on shore it looked like a great flight, but when we went to retrieve it, the glider had not moved.  It was so cold out that the float that we attached,in case the glider sank, froze into the ice preventing the glider from moving.

After the successful flight, we returned to Webb to send the glider through a final check and re-ballast it for a salt water flight.

With a finish glider in tow, Dave and I began the long drive back to IMCS. 

Once here, Ru 27 when through a complete overhaul, receiving new hulls, a new battery pack, and much more.  All the students got in on the action of helping to re-design the battery pack, and ballast the glider, among other things.  After a few minor hiccups including software problems and a few technical ones as well, Ru27 was put together with all aspects in working order.

Now complete, Ru 27 will enter the water for its test flight as soon as weather permits.  It will fly the endurance line,  a path along the Jersey Coast.

We are looking forward to seeing it in action! And even more to its flight across the Atlantic!




Winter Break Work 1/5-1/12

Friday, January 16th, 2009

Hey all,

I wanted to update every one on what I have been doing for the last week or so during my winter break.

Tired of sitting at home after the holidays I decided to come in and get to work on learing more to help prepare me for the flight across the atlantic this spring.

So far I have learned more of the wonderful program matlab, and can plot and manipulate data multiple ways.

In addition, I have put together RU07 from start to finish, and it is currently ready to be put in the water, as soon as the weather permits.

I have also been working with RU15. It was flown for a short while without a pitch battery, to see how well it would fly using just the pump to allow it to dive and climb.

When analyzing the results I found was that the glider climbed much more sharply that it dove, causing me to think that the glider was lighter in the front. To check if my assumption was correct, I stuck 15 back in the ballasting tank just as it was when it came out of the water.

The results showed that the fore weighed 94g, while the aft had a weight of 128g.

Also, another thing I did was to re-weigh the glider with the scales equi-distant from the center of gravity. This allowed me to see if the original data weight was near their true values. I found that the initial values were very close, with the fore weighed 90g and the aft weighed 130g.

Using these numbers Dave and I found you can correlate trim to pitch angle with 10 to 20 percent accuracy.