The Everly Bros, those two crooners who made such lovely music in the 1950s, come to mind as prior expected rains evaporate in model algorithms, consumed, obliterated by Fortran “End” statements somehow, and but at the same time they produced yet another wet dream (oops, an ambiguous expression that needs to be clarified immediately) , a model rain “dream” of very wet proportions in Arizona, 10 days away. Below, from IPS MeteoStar, whose maps are so good they’ll soon be charging money to see them, this deluge:
BTW, I am noticing its windy outside now (4 AM).
Stories from the Field
Went to the Pima Air and Space Museum and boneyard yesterday. Saw some nice Altocumulus, some distant ice in clouds on the eastern horizon. The University of Washington bought a lot of planes, well, two, from the boneyard here from PASM, two Convairs over the years, a 240 (non-pressurized), and a 580 (pressurized), which were then subject to having a lot of pylons hung on them and holes drilled in them for instrument purposes.
One pleasant surprise was that they also had a 1939 Douglas B-23 “Dragon”, the aircraft yours truly spent his first nine years in as a “flight meteorologist” with the University of Washington’s Cloud Physics Group (later, “Cloud and Aerosol Research Group”) before it crash landed in Kingman, Arizona, and had to be replaced. No people had to be replaced, which was fortunate.
The B-23 went unmentioned in the PASM tour.
But on field projects here in Arizona and around the world, our B-23 always brought a small crowd of aircraft aficionados who wanted to see something rare, of WWII vintage. Few knew what it was since only about 25 were manufactured. It was a failed project.
Possibly because of not being very fast, could cruise at 65-75 kts, it wasn’t so good as a military aircraft, but that made it great for sampling clouds; you were in them longer, and the instruments worked better at lower true airspeeds. Most aircraft in our era were flying at 100 kts while sampling clouds, and corrections had to be made for measurements that we did not have to make.
Seeing the B-23 was such a treat, bringing back warm memories of vomiting on flights, the cramped crew spaces, lots of G’s in those 90 second returns to the same cloud we had just gone through, wings vertical, blood rushing to the head, then this awful feeling of it going back down out of the turn when leveling off, to get back into a Cumulus turret or back into a power plant plume to see how many noxious chemicals it still had in it.
How did we get so many people (five or so) and so much stuff in there?!
And, of course, with the B-23 being unpressurized meant getting out the oxygen tube, sucking on that, when flying above 10, 000 feet; at times we got well above 20, 000 feet, lips, fingernails turning blue in spite of oxygen anyway.
But it also had a fantastic attribute that made “all the difference” in our scientific work, a viewing dome toward the back of the fuselage, which turned out to be my position as a crew member; sitting in a swivel chair, checking the cloud field for ripe sample candidates.
The dome allowed us to go exactly back to the place we had just come out of a turret, so that how clouds changed as they aged could be measured more accurately than other reseaerchers could do. Here’s a backward view from “the bubble” on the B-23 as it was called, taken by the author.
Having such a great look back also caused us to discover that our B-23 was compromising our measurements in second samples of clouds at below freezing temperatures by producing copious amounts of ice in narrow tubes in clouds that could be as warm at -8 C (about 18 F). We dubbed this phenomenon, APIPs, for Aircraft Produced Ice Particles, in later publications (1983).
It was a controversial, even suspect finding at first due to the high temperatures at which we observed it; no other aircraft researchers had reported it while doing cloud sampling over many years, but the phenomenon was verified a few years later in independent studies using other aircraft (1991). That finding still stands out as one of our most important, most cited ones.
But there were hazards associated with the plastic viewing dome on the B-23 in those days. It was not thick enough to stop grapefruit sized chunks of ice from blasting through it, ice that had been collected on the airframe during long periods of flight in icing conditions, that either melted off, or was ejected suddenly by inflating a rubber boot at the leading edge of the wing.
I had just stepped away to sit down on “Final” going into Sacramento’s Executive Aviation AP in January 1977 when such a chunk crashed through the “bubble” within seconds after I strapped in. Below, what the bubble looked like after it got bashed:
The B-23 at the PASM:
Yesterday’s clouds from the PASM