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King Air Research Aircraft To Be Featured At Cheyenne Frontier Days

July 19, 2017
Department of Atmospheric Science Senior Engineer Nick Mahon adjusts controls in the King Air.
Department of Atmospheric Science Senior Engineer Nick Mahon adjusts controls in the interior of the King Air research aircraft.

The Department of Atmospheric Science at the University of Wyoming will offer an opportunity to learn more about the role it has in the state of Wyoming at the 2017 edition of Cheyenne Frontier Days.

UW’s research aircraft, the King Air, along with other observing facilities supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), will be on display at the Wyoming National Guard open house. The event will be from 10:45 a.m.-3 p.m. July 26 at the 153rd Airlift Wing of the Wyoming Air National Guard (217 Dell Range Blvd.)

The King Air research aircraft (tail number N2UW) is a specially instrumented Textron Beechcraft King Air 200T (twin engine turbo-prop) modified specifically to conduct atmospheric research. Typical missions, which can fly up to altitudes of 28,000 feet, include studies of boundary layer structure, air-sea interactions, cloud and aerosol physics, troposphere profiling and atmospheric chemistry. About 50 percent of the research conducted with King Air is related to cloud physics. Another 30 percent focuses on aerosols and air quality and 20 percent of the aircraft’s research hours are spent on the exchange of energy between the surface of the Earth and its lower atmosphere.

Housed in the University’s Donald L. Veal Research Flight Center, the Wyoming King Air is the only NSF-supported aircraft facility owned by a university. The Department of Atmospheric Science has operated aircraft for atmospheric research for more than 50 years, and the King Air is the third aircraft in the series.

“We welcome the opportunity to reach out to the Wyoming community at Cheyenne Frontier Days,” Atmospheric Science Professor and Flight Center Director Al Rodi says. “We’re very proud of the support we’ve had from Wyoming and the University over several decades in developing this facility, and are looking forward to showing folks what we do, and how it ties into state interests such as water, energy development and regional environment.”

In addition to the King Air, NSF-supported atmospheric science research facilities on hand will include the NSF/National Center for Atmospheric Research C-130 aircraft equipped with lidar and cloud-sensing radar and the Center for Severe Weather Research Doppler on Wheels truck-mounted weather radar. These facilities are used to research a wide range of atmospheric phenomena from severe weather to drought to air quality. As part of the display, staff from each facility will be on hand to answer questions and distribute information to interested attendees.

Only shuttle bus traffic will be allowed on the base due to security and parking restrictions. Shuttle buses will leave continuously from Cheyenne’s Frontier Mall (located at 1400 Dell Range Blvd.) north side (between Dillard’s and Sears), beginning at 10:45 a.m. and from CFD Park. The last bus to the open house will leave at 2:45 p.m. Pedestrian foot traffic will also be allowed at the main gate. Vendors will sell food and drink on base during the open house.

The event takes place following the traditional United States Air Force Thunderbirds flyover at 9:30 a.m. The U.S. Navy Parachute Team, “The Leap Frogs,” are also scheduled to perform at the event at 1:30 p.m. Event organizers expect 2,500 attendees.

All visitors must bring a valid ID. No weapons, including pocket knives, coolers or containers will be allowed on the base. Security personnel may search all bags.

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