Due to the current status, Geophysica is not able to leave Sweden before Friday. The Swedish ministry of defense has called the airport several times today to make sure that Geophysica is leaving.
We have been informed that the Swedish authorities are working on new flight permissions. It is unclear whether these flight permissions are for the purpose of our research (which would be great) or for the Geophysica flight to leave the country. Either way, the German-, Italian- and Swiss embassies will ask for new permissions for the research flights. We are hoping for the best…
To get an overview of the airport in Kiruna and where we are located:
At the pin: Arena Arctica, location of our work
Even though it is already mid-April, some of us (not me…) saw some nice polar lights yesterday night.
Polar lights, picture taken by Brian Leen
On it’s way into the country on Friday, Geophysica was mistaken as a Russian state aircraft by the Swedish Defense Ministry with ‘no obvious motivation’. The flight permissions for the Swedish airspace were withdrawn. Quick note: Geophysica has already been here in Kiruna for campaigns several times and did more than 30 research flights since 2003. The purpose of the campaign and the flight has been communicated to the authorities again. Still, the Swedish Defense Ministry insists: Geophysica has to leave the country by tomorrow morning 8 a.m..
…TO BE CONTINUED…
On the picture you see the instrument AMICA that I work on, carried by a crane to the top of the plane, to test all mountings and connections.
This is the M-55 Geophysica, a Russian high altitude research aircraft. It reaches altitudes up to 21 km and has a flight duration of up to 5 hours. It was built as a Russian spy plane in the 1970s and was reconstructed to an atmospheric research aircraft in the 1990s.
The M-55 Geophysica on its way into the Arena Arctica
It arrived yesterday shortly after us and is now sitting in the huge Arena Arctica here in Kiruna.
The plan is to have two test flights during the next two weeks. The first one Thursday 21st of April and the second on Monday 25th. Until then we still need to test the integration onto the aircraft, do lab tests with the instruments and some other preparations.
The Arena Arctica: View from the top of the aircraft