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Low-Flying NASA Jet Will Be Noisy as It Measures Air Quality over Fresno, Valley



NASA says the public can track the aircraft's journey tracked in live time on Flight Aware. The aircraft's tail number is N817NA. (GV Wire Composite/David Rodriguez)
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If you see a large jet flying low and making a lot of right and left turns over the Central Valley today and tomorrow, not to worry: NASA is conducting research about air quality and pollution sources, using a low-altitude DC-8 that will zigzag across the Central Valley.

The aircraft from the NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center is conducting a collaborative scientific research mission with NOAA called AEROMMA — measuring Atmospheric Emissions and Reactions Observed from Megacities to Marine Areas. The project will bring together airborne, ground, and satellite observing systems, and state-of-the-art air quality and climate models to gather data on air quality.

NASA says the public can track the aircraft’s journey tracked in live time on Flight Aware. The aircraft’s tail number is N817NA.


At 2:40 p.m. Tuesday the DC-8 aircraft had reached its northernmost point at the Sacramento airport and was flying south over the city of Sacramento at about 1,600 feet, according to the Flight Aware app.

According to the flight path shown in Flight Aware, the jet will zigzag first to the east, then west over Concord in the East Bay, then continue zigzagging east and west as it gradually heads south. The plane will begin and end its journey Tuesday in Palmdale.

Low Altitude Jet Might Be Noisy

The flights will be overhead Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon and early evening, NASA said.

Those with sensitivity to loud noise should be aware of the flyover window, NASA warned. NASA’s DC-8, a large, four-engine passenger jet, is the world’s largest flying science laboratory.

The NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center is based at Edwards Air Force Base in the upper Mojave Desert.

Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email

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