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Media Advisory: Low-flying Helicopter to Survey Groundwater near Grand Canyon West and Peach Springs, Arizona

Note to Editors: In the public interest, and in accordance with FAA regulations, the USGS is announcing this low-level airborne project. Your assistance in informing the local communities is appreciated.

Residents and visitors of the Grand Canyon West and Truxton/Peach Springs areas may see a low-flying helicopter towing a large hoop hanging from a cable starting on or around March 10, 2018, and lasting approximately one to two weeks. The low-flying helicopter will collect and record geophysical measurements for scientific research conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey.


What:             A low-flying helicopter under contract to the USGS will begin collecting and recording geophysical measurements for scientific research purposes.


Where:           Western Hualapai Indian Reservation near Grand Canyon West, Peach Springs and Truxton, Arizona


When:             Starting on or around March 10, 2018, and lasting approximately one to two weeks


The helicopter-borne geophysical system will focus efforts near the towns of Truxton and Peach Springs, Arizona, and the Grand Canyon West Skywalk and resort area. These surveys entail flying in a grid pattern relatively low to the ground – hundreds of feet above the surface. A sensor that resembles a large hula-hoop will be towed beneath the helicopter to measure tiny electromagnetic signals that can be used to map properties of the earth’s subsurface.


Data collected during this survey will be analyzed by USGS scientists and used to map geologic structures and aquifer properties. This survey is a component of a larger study being conducted by the USGS to better understand the groundwater resources of western Hualapai Indian Reservation and the Truxton Basin.


The USGS is contracting with SkyTEM ApS, a specialty airborne geophysical company, to conduct the survey. Experienced pilots from Sinton Helicopters, who are specially trained for the low-level flying required for geophysical surveys, will operate the helicopter. The company works with the Federal Aviation Administration to ensure flights are in accordance with United States law.


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Low-Flying Helicopter
A low-flying helicopter towing a geophysical device collects scientific data on groundwater and geology.(USGS photo)


Map of Northeast Arizona Low-Level Flight Study Area
Map of the airborne geophysical survey area in northeast Arizona. Surveys will be conducted along a grid of lines within the red-dashed area; surveys will not occur directly over populated areas.(USGS photo and map)

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