Pilot Modifies Cessna for Seismic Study

Pilot Modifies Cessna for Seismic Study

The pilot behind the pane conducting the aerial earthquake survey over the New Madrid seismic zone says he does it for the love of flight.
BLYTHEVILLE, AR (localmemphis.com) -- The sign on the door says experimental but this is hardly Joe Nance’s first go at it, he’s been flying these flights since 1996 and loves every minute of it.

The way Nance describes it, things just fell into place.

“This just kinda grew from being approached by the department of agriculture to do agricultural type surveys, grew into the mineral exploration side of things, geo thermal, oil & gas & fault line.”

Joe’s Cessna, built in 1961, is the key component in this survey; without it, there would be no experiment. It had to be modified, but Joe was happy to do it in the name of science.

“I enjoy flying, that’s my main thing, I work for myself, I get to go all over the country, fly in some neat places and meet a lot of nice people and be involved with some neat technology, I really enjoy the technology part of it,” says Nance.

In addition to all his in flight instruments, Nance also has access to the magnetometer, or the stinger on the back, and by the time this survey is all said and done that magnetometer would have collected 2.5 million data points.

Nance isn’t a scientist, he’s a pilot who lives by the saying, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Nance leaves the map making to the experts, “They take this data combined with my position data and my altitude data and they make the maps, that’s not my thing, just the flying the airplane is kinda my thing.”

These flights are a bit of a homecoming for Joe, he graduated high school just outside Blytheville.

They hope to have the survey done in a month with the results available by January 2014.

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