Millersville students fly high

Millersville students had the opportunity to participate in airborne research based out of Lancaster airport from Nov. 3-18. Photo courtesy of Millersville University.

Jared Hameloth
News Editor

Students from Millersville, Penn State, Rutgers, and University of Maryland-Baltimore County got to study weather patterns from the skies. From Nov. 3-18, over 100 students will use an airborne platform to study with Millersville’s meteorology department.

According to their Facebook page, the Student Experience in Airborne Research in the Mid-Atlantic Region (SEAR-MAR) aimed to help these students prepare “themselves for careers in atmospheric research, and many have the opportunity to fly on the aircraft” during the experiments.

Four hours before the flight, the students hold video conferences with the others that will be flying that day. During that time they do weather forecasts and prepare flight patterns. The Lancaster airport is the base being used for the flights to take off from. After the planning is complete, the students flying that day head to the airport for flight safety training.

According to SEAR-MAR, Millersville “operates a ground-based instrument platform at the Frey Landfill, where among other things, we launch balloons carrying payloads that profile atmospheric conditions.” These instruments are incorporated into the entire project, in which students are to practice “developing the science objectives, designing the flight patterns to accomplish these objectives, and operating a suite of ground-based instruments.”

Drs. Rich Clark, Todd Sikora and Brian Billings are leading the collaborations with the other universities. SEAR-MAR says “a flight typically last for about 4 hours,” but that the memories the students make along the way will last forever.

Students participating in the research are encouraged to post their experiences on the SEAR-MAR King Air Facebook page and Millersville’s social media accounts.