If you see a large jet flying low and making a lot of right and left turns over the Central Valley today and tomorrow, not to worry: NASA is conducting research about air quality and pollution sources, using a low-altitude DC-8 that will zigzag across the Central Valley.
The aircraft from the NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center is conducting a collaborative scientific research mission with NOAA called AEROMMA — measuring Atmospheric Emissions and Reactions Observed from Megacities to Marine Areas. The project will bring together airborne, ground, and satellite observing systems, and state-of-the-art air quality and climate models to gather data on air quality.
NASA says the public can track the aircraft’s journey tracked in live time on Flight Aware. The aircraft’s tail number is N817NA.
NASA Video of DC-8 AEROMMA
At 2:40 p.m. Tuesday the DC-8 aircraft had reached its northernmost point at the Sacramento airport and was flying south over the city of Sacramento at about 1,600 feet, according to the Flight Aware app.
According to the flight path shown in Flight Aware, the jet will zigzag first to the east, then west over Concord in the East Bay, then continue zigzagging east and west as it gradually heads south. The plane will begin and end its journey Tuesday in Palmdale.
Low Altitude Jet Might Be Noisy
The flights will be overhead Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon and early evening, NASA said.
Those with sensitivity to loud noise should be aware of the flyover window, NASA warned. NASA’s DC-8, a large, four-engine passenger jet, is the world’s largest flying science laboratory.
The NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center is based at Edwards Air Force Base in the upper Mojave Desert.