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Atmospheric Sciences & Global Change Division
Staff Awards & Honors

July 2008

Aircraft Operations Receive Gold Standard Recognition

A prestigious national award recognized the stellar safety program of PNNL research aircraft used around the world for atmospheric research. The federal Interagency Committee for Aviation Policy awarded its highest Gold Standard Certificate to the Department of Energy for PNNL's excellent safety and operations management of the Research Aircraft Facility. The award recognizes the three-decade record of Bob Hannigan and his team of John Hubbe, Bill Svancara, Dick Hone, Rich Barchet, Ruth Keefe, and Bev Johnson for safe operations of the G-1 aircraft at PNNL and other research aircraft worldwide under contract to PNNL.

Bob Hannigan (seated), Director of Flight Operations and Chief Pilot, reviews flight plans with scientist Rahul Zaveri to plan for a research campaign.
Bob Hannigan (seated), Director of Flight Operations and Chief Pilot, reviews flight plans with scientist Rahul Zaveri to plan for a research campaign.

Bob and his team oversee the PNNL Grumman Gulfstream 159 (G-1) aircraft program, including the flight crew, technical and engineering support staff, and state-of-the-art instrumentation. The aircraft serves atmospheric scientists at DOE and other federal, state, and industrial laboratories in carrying out airborne research in support of climate change and other national missions.

The G-1 aircraft has participated in dozens of national and international field campaigns related to climate change, air quality, acid precipitation, aerosols, visibility, and instrument development. Researchers have used the aircraft and its instrumentation to investigate aerosol and cloud microphysics that affect climate change, acid rain in the United States and Canada, emissions from a power-generating station in the Grand Canyon, and smoke plumes from the Kuwait oil fires in 1991. In September, the aircraft will fly to Chile to sample fog and other aerosols over the Pacific Ocean as part of an international field campaign on climate change.

In addition to ensuring the safe operations of the G-1 aircraft, Bob and his team certify other aircraft from countries worldwide under contract to PNNL. This ensures that those aircraft and pilots comply with safety operation standards specified in DOE Order 440.2B.

Winning this coveted certification demonstrates that PNNL and DOE are committed to achieving excellence in aviation safety by adopting best practices in the aviation industry. The Gold Standard Certificate Program is given to agencies that meet or exceed the requirements of the Federal Management Regulations Part 102-33 pertaining to the management of government aircraft.

Acknowledgments: PNNL strengthens U.S. scientific foundations for innovation by transforming the Nation's ability to predict climate change and its impacts. DOE's Office of Science funds the research that the Research Aircraft Facility supports.


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