PALMDALE (CBSLA) – A NASA DC-8 airliner will once again conduct low-altitude flights Thursday over the Los Angeles Basin after causing a stir during a similar flyover earlier this summer.

The jet will sample air both in the L.A. and San Joaquin Valley areas as part of a two-month study of “the life cycles of smoke from fires in the United States.”

In order to obtain samples, the jet will fly anywhere between 1,500 feet and 3,500 feet over parts of the Southland.

A team from UC Irvine will then analyze the collected air samples for more than 50 volatile organic compounds, according to NASA.

The air quality data collection is part of a partnership with the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

“This is an exciting and rare opportunity to gather information that will help us to understand more about the challenges posed by climate change and the role it plays in the causation of wildfires,” CARB Executive Officer Richard W. Corey said in a statement. “Our mandate is to protect public health and we expect the findings from these research flights will improve our ability to more fully plan for and communicate the potential health risks posed by wildfires to the public.”

The DC-8 flew a similar path over the same areas on July 22 as it traveled from NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Palmdale to Boise, Idaho. The plane is returning to Palmdale Thursday from Salina, Kansas.


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