Trends Spring 2015 - Page 11

Flight coordination involves more than meets the eye

In their spare time , Jason Krueger and Aaron Sale probably could become pretty good jugglers . They certainly do enough of it in their work on behalf of the GIS Consortium .

Providing the GISC and its 27 member communities with geographic information systems data requires coordinating and conducting aerial imagery flights in what Krueger calls “ one of the most difficult airspaces in the world for doing this kind of mapping .”
Krueger , project manager for Ayres ’ work with the GISC , is referring to the area around Chicago ’ s O ’ Hare International Airport .
The vast majority of the GISC ’ s 206 square miles of territory falls within a 10-nautical-mile radius of O ’ Hare . That means the many flights Ayres conducts over GISC communities each year to capture updated aerial photographs and other data only can occur after much careful planning has been completed .
“ We can ’ t fly just whenever . The conditions have to be just right ,” Krueger said .
A successful aerial imagery flight “ is the culmination of a lot of pre-planning ,” said Sale , coordinator for all Ayres flights in the United States . “ We like to describe our flight seasons as ‘ preparation meeting opportunity ,’ ” he said . “ I know that ’ s a phrase people often use to describe luck , but luck has little to do with having a successful flying season .”
One of the major complications Krueger and Sale must juggle is the high volume of flights into and out of O ’ Hare each day . Over the 15 years it has been working with the GISC , Ayres has developed excellent working relationships with the O ’ Hare Air Traffic Control Tower , the Federal Aviation Administration , and the FAA ’ s Terminal Radar Approach Control Facilities , or TRACON .
“ As a flight coordinator I plan each flight with the flight crews , and I send the flight plan down to TRACON in advance of the flight ,” Sale said . “ We are fortunate to have excellent , experienced pilots and flight crews working for us . So TRACON knows that if Ayres is coming in for a flight , it ’ s going to be well-organized .”
“ Ultimately , it ’ s TRACON that tells our chief pilots when we can and cannot fly ,” Krueger said . “ Often that is a dayto-day or even hour-to-hour decision .”
Another critical factor to juggle when planning the flights is weather – on both a daily and a seasonal basis .
Successful aerial imagery requires flying when there are no leaves on the trees or snow on the ground , so most flights are scheduled for the spring .
Sale explained that on a typical late spring day , there is a four- to six-hour window during which the angle of the sun is optimal for the kind of aerial imagery Ayres needs to conduct . Each flight typically lasts two to three hours within that window of opportunity .
But springtime in Chicago doesn ’ t always provide enough days with suitable flying conditions , so flights may be conducted after trees shed their leaves in autumn , Krueger said .
Whatever the season , the ideal conditions for aerial imagery are clear , haze-free days when there is little wind , conditions that in the Chicago area are significantly influenced – daily , even hourly – by the proximity to Lake Michigan .
The volume of flights at O ’ Hare generally is lower on weekends , Sale said , adding , “ In the upper Midwest , we have relatively few opportunities to conduct these flights each year . So if you get a clear day on a Saturday or Sunday with not too much wind , you better be ready to go , because you need to take full advantage of every little window you can .”
Yet another factor to be juggled when scheduling aerial imagery flights around O ’ Hare is the dreaded temporary flight restriction , or TFR . For example , whenever President Barak Obama flies back to his hometown of Chicago , a TFR may result in the delay or cancellation of previously scheduled flights in the O ’ Hare airspace .
The planning for each aerial imagery flight begins three months ahead of time . So Krueger and Sale have been planning flights for this spring since January .
“ We submit our preliminary flight plans to O ’ Hare by the end of February ,” Krueger explained . “ Then we finalize our plans within the first week of March and we are flying by the middle of March and we ’ re finished by the end of April .”
Of course , Krueger concedes this is only a “ typical ” schedule he has described . He and Sale have been juggling long enough to know little is “ typical ” in the O ’ Hare airspace .
“ All of our flights are difficult for new and unpredictable reasons ,” Krueger said . “ Every year is difficult for a different reason . But every year , thanks to careful planning and great work by our flight crews , we get the job done .”
– Bob Brown
TRENDS│11
Flight coordination involves more than meets the eye I n their spare time, Jason Krueger and Aaron Sale probably could become pretty good jugglers. They certainly do enough of it in their work on behalf of the GIS Consortium. working relationships with the O’Hare Air Traffic Control Tower, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the FAA’s Terminal Radar Approach Control Facilities, or TRACON. Providing the GISC and its 27 member communities with geographic information systems data requires coordinating and conducting aerial imagery flights in what Krueger calls “one of the most difficult airspaces in the world for doing this kind of mapping.” “As a flight coordinator I plan each flight with the flight crews, and I send the flight plan down to TRACON in advance of the flight,” Sale said. “We are fortunate to have excellent, experienced pilots and flight crews working for us. So TRACON knows that if Ayres is coming in for a flight, it’s going to be well-organized.” Krueger, project manager for Ayres’ work with the GISC, is referring to the area around Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. The vast majority of the GISC’s 206 square miles of territory falls within a 10-nautical-mile radius of O’Hare. That means the many flights Ayres conducts over GISC communities each year to capture updated aerial photographs and other data only can occur after much careful planning has been completed. “We can’t fly just whenever. The conditions have to be just right,” Krueger said. A successful aerial imagery flight “is the culmination of a lot of pre-planning,” said Sale, coordinator for all Ayres flights in the United States. “We like to describe our flight seasons as ‘preparation meeting opportunity,’ ” he said. “I know that’s a phrase people often use to describe luck, but luck has little to do with having a successful flying season.” One of the major complications Krueger and Sale must juggle is the high volume of flights into and out of O’Hare each day. Over the 15 years it has been working with the GISC, Ayres has developed excellent “Ultimately, it’s TRACON that tells our chief pilots when we can and cannot fly,” Krueger said. “Often that is a day- to-day or even hour-to-hour decision.” Another critical factor to juggle when planning the flights is weather – on both a daily and a seasonal basis. Successful aerial imagery requires flying when there are no leaves on the trees or snow on the ground, so most flights are scheduled for the spring. Sale explained that on a typical late spring day, there is a four- to six-hour window during which the angle of the sun is optimal for the kind of aerial imagery Ayres needs to conduct. Each flight typically lasts two to three hours within that window of opportunity. But springtime in Chicago doesn’t always provide enough days with suitable flying conditions, so flights may be conducted after trees shed their leaves in autumn, Krueger said. Whatever the season, the ideal conditions for aerial imagery are clear, haze-free days when there is little wind, conditions that in the Chicago area are significantly influenced – daily, even hourly – by the proximity FR֖6vFRfVRbfƖvG2B( &PvVW&ǒ2vW"vVVVG26P6BFFr( ĖFRWW"֖GvW7BvRfR&VFfVǒfWr'GVFW0F6GV7BFW6RfƖvG2V6V"6bRvWB6V"F6GW&F 7VFvFBFV6vBP&WGFW"&R&VGFv&V6W6RPVVBFFRgVGfFvRbWfW'ƗGFRvFrR6( ХWBFW"f7F"F&RVvvV@vV66VGVƖrW&vW'fƖvG2&VB( &R2FRG&VFV@FV&'fƖvB&W7G&7F"De"f"WRvVWfW"&W6FV@&&&fƖW2&6F0WFvb66vDe"&W7VBFRFV"66VF`&WfW6ǒ66VGVVBfƖvG2FP( &R'76RFRrf"V6W&vW'fƖvB&Vv2F&VRF2VB`FR6'VVvW"B6RfR&VVrfƖvG2f"F27&r66PV'( vR7V&֗BW"&VƖ֖'fƖv@2F( &R'FRVB`fV''V'( 'VVvW"WVB( FVvRfƗRW"2vFFRf'7@vVVb&6BvR&Rfǖp'FR֖FFRb&6Bv^( &Pf6VB'FRVBb&( Фb6W'6R'VVvW"66VFW2F02ǒ( G6( 66VGVRR0FW67&&VBRB6RfR&VVধVvvƖrrVVvFrƗGFR0( G6( FR( &R'76R( bW"fƖvG2&RFff7VBf WrBV&VF7F&R&V62( Ф'VVvW"6B( WfW'V"2Fff7V@f"FffW&VB&V6'WBWfW'V"F2F6&VgVrBw&V@v&'W"fƖvB7&Ww2vRvWBFP"FR( Ю( 2&"'&vE$TE0)H#