Who are we?
Performing aeronautics field research takes a diverse team of investigators with expertise in aerospace engineering, atmospheric science, aerosol and gas-phase properties, radiative transfer, cloud microphysics, and chemistry, as well as the ground and air crew, test facility operators, instrument specialists, and other support personnel necessary to set up and run the experiments. These team members come from NASA’s four aeronautics field centers (Ames Research Center, Armstrong Flight Research Center, Glenn Research Center, and Langley Research Center), and from universities, international collaborators, and partners in the aviation industry.
What do we do?
Aeronautics field projects typically involve one or more of the following activities:
- Developing and characterizing state-of-the-art instrumentation for making measurements relevant to aircraft emissions (e.g. trace gas concentrations, aerosol properties, ice crystal size).
- Conducting experiments in controlled (laboratory) settings to quantify aircraft engine emissions and their ability to form contrails.
- Making systematic measurements of aviation exhaust during both ground-based and airborne operations. Ground-based emissions have an impact on local air quality surrounding airports, while airborne emissions impact cloud formation and the Earth’s radiation budget.
- Creating and improving emission models so that measurements from a project can be extrapolated to a larger domain (e.g. to a greater spatial or temporal timescale, or to the national or global aircraft fleet).
- Communicating important results to the public in order to better inform policy decisions regarding air quality, public health, and climate.