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Back and Forth: Ask Questions and Learn More About the Low-Level Helicopter Flying Above the Mississippi Alluvial Plain

November 8, 2018

Media:            Please join the U.S. Geological Survey, CGG Airborne, and various partners for a demonstration takeoff of the low-flying helicopter and description of what scientists are seeking in/around the Mississippi Alluvial Plain. Please RSVP to Heidi Koontz at 720-320-1246 or

What:             Public Open House


When:            Tuesday, November 13, 2018, 2 p.m.


Where:           Provine Helicopter Services, Greenwood-Leflore airport


Why:              Beginning in early November and lasting for several months, a low-level helicopter will begin flying over parts of seven states in the Mississippi Alluvial Plain, or MAP, to acquire a more accurate picture of aquifers in the area.


This high-resolution, airborne geophysical survey, coordinated by USGS scientists in partnership with local agencies, will provide critical data for the evaluation and management of groundwater resources in the region. This survey represents the second phase of the study as initial flights and data acquisition over the MAP started in February using the same helicopter system.

CGG Airborne of Ontario, Canada, under contract to the USGS, will make the daytime, low-level flights over more than 20 million acres within the MAP, including a buffer around the entire area. Experienced pilots who are specially trained and approved for low-level flying will operate the aircraft. All flights are coordinated with the Federal Aviation Administration to ensure accordance with federal and state laws.

The MAP is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the nation and depends on groundwater for irrigation. It constitutes the third largest area of irrigated cropland in the U.S., consisting of approximately 29,000 square miles, or 19 million acres, and includes parts of Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. 

The survey is being conducted by the USGS Water Availability and Use Program as part of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain Regional Water Availability Study.  More information about this project can be found online.


CGG RESOLVE in flight
CGG RESOLVE helicopter system in Greenwood, Mississippi. The USGS is working with CGG and other partners to gather geophysical information related to the Mississippi Alluvial Plain. The helicopter will be deployed in several smaller focus areas of interest where a series of high-resolution survey grids will be acquired.

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