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12 23Thu04172014

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Residents invited to view research planes

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INTERESTED community members will be able to take a look at two research aircraft at the airport tomorrow between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

The Guam International Airport Authority is coordinating an open house at the Aviation Concepts hangar in Tiyan for those interested in learning more about the atmosphere and climate research efforts that have been conducted out of Guam over the last month.

The open house will also allow people to view the aircraft that were used to study the atmosphere above the region.

Two of three aircraft used for the research projects will be at the open house, the Gulfstream V (HIAPER) and a BAe-146. The other aircraft, NASA’s Global Hawk, will not be at the open house, as it is based at Andersen Air Force Base.

The aircraft are part of three collaborative research projects. One project, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, called the Convective Transport of Active Species in the Tropics (CONTRAST) project, aims to evaluate various chemical compositions in the atmosphere during this time of year.

Together with the Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurement’s Coordinated Airborne Studies in the Tropics project and an experiment based out of the United Kingdom, called ATTREX (Airborne Tropical Tropopause Experiment), researchers will work to understand how large convective clouds redistribute atmospheric gases in the tropical atmosphere.

The scientists and meteorologists involved have worked since mid-January to evaluate the atmospheric gases and chemical structure of the atmospheric layers in the Western Pacific. In an earlier interview, Ross Salawitch, a principal investigator for the CONTRAST project, said the aircraft will fly in and out of Guam. While the Global Hawk operated out of Andersen, the Gulfstream V and the BAe-146 operated out of the local airport.

“To my knowledge, this is the first airborne project of this sort conducted in the tropical Western Pacific,” Salawitch said in an earlier interview. The results of the research could help scientists better understand the climate in this region and its effect on other regions.

Rolenda Faasuamalie, the airport’s marketing administrator, said the open house is a way for the airport to call attention to its noncommercial efforts. “Most people think only of commercial flights,” Faasuamalie said. “We wanted people to be aware of the high profile Guam is receiving with this research being conducted here.”

The project cost is about $3 million, Faasuamalie added. Moreover, the team’s hotel, food and beverage needs contributed to the economy throughout their stay.

Salawitch said it is the first time for many researchers on the team to be in this part of the world.

Some personnel also visited schools last week and conducted presentations about their research for students. Faasuamalie said the school presentations will continue through the end of February.

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