The University of Wyoming King Air research aircraft was displayed at the 2017 Cheyenne Frontier Days celebration as part of the Wyoming National Guard open house. The King Air was open to the public for tours, along with other research facilities supported by the National Science Foundation, with facility staff present to answer attendees’ questions about the aircraft. There was a large turnout for the aircraft display, with attendees consistently interested in touring the King Air and learning about its research instrumentation, along with the University’s involvement in the atmospheric science research community.
Alumni Nick Mahon (2006 College of Engineering & Applied Science; BSME 2006 College of Engineering & Applied Science; MBA 2008 College of Business) and Larry Oolman (1989 College of Engineering & Applied Science; PHD 1989 College of Engineering & Applied Science) were among the scientists at the Wyoming National Guard open house.
The King Air is managed by the University of Wyoming under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation as part of its Lower Atmospheric Observing Facilities program. The aircraft is used to study many aspects of the atmosphere that impact society. Research topics commonly involve clouds and precipitation, but can also involve aerosols and air quality, atmospheric chemistry, and measurements of turbulence and energy fluxes in the lower atmosphere. Recent research campaigns involving the King Air have focused on improving the understanding of nocturnal convection, the structure of wildfire smoke plumes, and the use of cloud seeding to enhance snowfall, mitigating the effects of drier periods of weather. The King Air is also involved in educational projects, including the upcoming SEAR-MAR campaign (Multi-institutional Collaborative Student Experience in Airborne Research in the Mid-Atlantic Region, 2017) led by Principal Investigator Richard D. Clark (University of Wyoming, 1987), providing an opportunity for outreach through student-led research missions.