The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will send a twin-engine turboprop aircraft to Minnesota later this year to support critical snow survey missions that collect soil moisture data from melting snow. The mission was announced on Friday in contract documents seeking hangar space for the aircraft on the Federal Business Opportunities website.
Due to winter weather conditions in the Minneapolis area and requirements for the AC-695A Jet Prop Commander, it is necessary that the aircraft be kept in a heated hangar. The AC-695A operates in various locations throughout the United States and Canada.
The plane will operate out of Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, supporting the National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center. Each flight will collect soil moisture data and perform snow surveys in the United States and Canada.
Snow water equivalent measurements are gathered during the winter months over a number of flights at 500 feet above the ground, at speeds ranging between 100 and 120 knots. Information collected during snow survey missions, along with photographic data, is used by the National Weather Service River Forecasting Centers and other government agencies to forecast river levels, water flow, and potential flooding events due to spring snowmelt water runoff.
NOAA is looking for a heated hangar for the AC-695A aircraft, which has a wingspan of 52 feet, a length of 43 feet and is 14 feet 11.5 inches high at the tail. “Heated hangar means that the hangar is maintained at a temperature above 40 degrees Fahrenheit,” NOAA said in contract documents.
The hangar lease is required from March 31, 2013 through March 31, 2014, which is the base period, with one six-month option period. “However, the government reserves the right to depart early from the survey site and from use of the hangar without incurring any additional fees or penalties associated with departing early,” NOAA said.
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