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Twin Otter plane being outfitted for the trip. Image copyright M. Studinger Nick Frearson, Robin Bell and Michael Studinger at the start of equipment construction. Equipment rack installed in the plane for test run. Image copyright M. Studinger

The plane

In order to complete the airborne geophysical survey of the Gamburtsev Mountains area of Dome A the plane and equipment had to be coordinated. Putting together the equipment to gather the data, and the laying out the instruments in the plane involves careful engineering. Having adequate space and eliminating instrument interference are primary considerations in the planning.


This is a schematic of the DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft used in the data acquisition. Highlighted in gold at the end of each wing are the magnetometers. These are set out away from the aircraft due to their sensitivity to interference from electrical or magnetic materials in the wings.

Mounted under each wing, and shown in the sketch as gold lines on the top of the wings, are a series of dipole radar antennas - four on each wing. Flights were run with four under each wing, but the capability exists to mount up to three additional for a total of seven.

Inside the cab are several racks of equipment supporting the instruments as they collect the data. One piece of equipment is mounted inside the plane is a gravimeter.

A GPS receiver is mounted centrally on the roof of the plane's cab between the wings, with a second antenna mounted on the tail fin.

Mounted so that it can scan out the bottom of the plane is a Reigl laser scanner. The scanner measures ice surface elevation.

Fuel is stored in three separate compartments, a 240 liter tank on each wing tip, and a500 liter auxiliary tank behind the pilot area.

Link to larger view of the technical layout of the plane.



This project funded through NSF Antarctic Research Grants #ANT 0632292; ANT 0619457 | contact us | web master
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