Duane DuRay, K.I. Sawyer Airport Manager, Alerts Listeners of Low Flying USGS Planes with Canadian Markings Coming to U.P. This Summer

Filed under: The 8th Day |
LLow-Flying Airborne Survey Airplane Example with Canadian Tail Markings Coming Soon to Marquette Region (source USGS)

Low-Flying Airborne Survey Airplane Example with Canadian Tail Markings Coming Soon to Marquette Region (source USGS)

MARQUETTESawyer International Airport, County of Marquette, would like to announce that the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists will be conducting a high-resolution survey study. Residents and visitors will witness a low-flying airplane in and around the Marquette County area throughout the summer.

Duane DuRay, K.I. Sawyer Airport Manager, spoke with Todd Pazz on the 8th Day this week to talk more about what this survey means to residents of the Upper Peninsula, including those living Marquette County. The planes are expected to fly north and south so that each time they pass they will my just 300-500 feet from their last pass as they follow a tight grid pattern. The tail section of the 2 engine planes are expected to have magnetometers jutting from the rear of plane about 20 feet, which other hi-res survey cameras will take photos of the terrain underneath the plan.

These maps will help with future economic development and better maps of resources within our region. Also, the survey planes originate from Canada and will have tail identification numbers starting with “C” rather than usual “N” for planes originating from within the United States. Mr. DuRay explained that the best survey expertise come from the former Soviet Union and Canada, so contracting this service from the Canadians isn’t a surprise.

From official press releases from USGS:

Residents and visitors may witness a low-flying airplane above the broader Iron Mountain-Escanaba-Marquette region this spring and summer.

U.S. Geological Survey scientists will conduct a high-resolution airborne survey to study the geology under a region of the central Upper Peninsula, Michigan, until as late as July, 2018. The data will help USGS researchers improve their understanding of geology, including buried rock types and faults, in the region.

As part of this research, a low-flying airplane under contract to the USGS through EON Geosciences (Based in Montréal, Québec, Canada) will be used. The aircraft will be operated by experienced pilots who are specially trained and approved for low-level flying. All flights are coordinated with the Federal Aviation Administration to ensure accordance with United States law.

“This study will help the USGS and partnered scientists understand the region’s fundamental geology and tectonic history in much greater detail than is currently known,” said USGS scientist Benjamin Drenth, a Denver-based researcher leading the survey.

The airplane will carry instruments to measure variations in the earth’s magnetic field. Because different rock types vary in content of magnetic minerals, the resulting maps allow visualization of the geologic structure below the surface. The instruments carried on the aircraft only make passive measurements, and thus pose no health risk to humans or animals.

This survey will be flown in a grid pattern. North-south lines will be flown approximately 500 feet apart at elevations from 250-1000 feet above the ground, and one mile apart in an east-west direction. All survey flights will occur during daylight hours.

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