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High Performance Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research

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High Performance Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research (HIAPER)  (University Corporation For Atmospheric Res)

Research Focus & Anticipated Benefits

A medium-altitude, long-duration jet has been a requirement of the science community since the 1980s. The National Science Foundation (NSF) funded development of the High-Performance Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research to meet those needs, and HIAPER has become the premier plane for scientific discovery. The modified Gulfstream V jet is capable of reaching an altitude of 51,000 feet, can cruise for 7,000 miles, and is equipped with advanced instrumentation for environmental research. NSF and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) entered into a cooperative agreement to develop the aircraft. Its operations are managed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

HIAPER's initial science missions took place in 2006. Its first major scientific project was the Terrain-Induced Experiment (T-Rex), a project to learn more about rotors, the dangerous whirlwinds that develop on the lee side of high, steep mountains like California’s Sierra Nevada range. Scientists using HIAPER also launched a far-reaching field project known as the Pacific Dust Experiment (PACDEX) to study plumes of airborne dust and pollutants that originate in Asia and journey to North America. The plumes, among the largest such events on Earth, are so great in scope that scientists believe they might affect clouds and weather across thousands of miles while interacting with the Sun’s radiation and playing a role in global climate.

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  • HIAPER jet plane
High-Performance Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research (HIAPER) aircraft. HIAPER, a modified Gulfstream V jet, can fly at an altitude of 51,000 feet and has a range of 7,000 miles. The aircraft's range enables scientists to survey remote ocean regions in a single flight to learn more about the interactions between the oceans and the atmosphere.
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
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