Helicopter to Make Low-Level Flights over

Helicopter to Make Low-Level Flights over

Eastern Nebraska residents should not be alarmed if they see a low-flying helicopter over areas of the Nemaha Natural Resources District (NNRD) in early June.

Beginning the second week of June and lasting one week or less, instruments mounted below a helicopter will collect and record geologic measurements to learn more about buried aquifers (glacial sands and gravels, sandstones and other water-bearing materials).  The NNRD and other members of the Eastern Nebraska Water Resources Assessment (ENWRA), a coalition of six NRDs in the eastern third of Nebraska, have planned the flights with help from the Nebraska Water Sustainability Fund, through the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission.  According to Katie Cameron, coordinator of ENWRA, “The flights will improve our understanding of available ground water and its possible connections with surface water in an area of the state made more complex by the presence of glacial deposits.”

Aqua Geo Frameworks (AGF), of Mitchell, Nebraska will oversee the flights, process data and produce a final report.  The equipment can collect data at a speed of more than 50 miles per hour and explore to a depth of more than 700 feet below the ground surface.  The helicopter will fly over parts of Otoe, Johnson, Pawnee, Nemaha and Richardson counties.   Cameron said the flights will be a continuation of ENWRA flights conducted during summer 2016 and will focus with more detail on several communities in the area.  Scientific equipment is towed about 100 feet below the helicopter in a ‘spider web’ array and is designed to map geologic structures beneath the surface of the earth.  Cameron said, “The helicopter will be manned by experienced pilots specially trained for low-level flying with this equipment.”  Similar flights have been made across Nebraska since 2007, according to Cameron, as NRDs seek to better understand and manage ground water resources.

Click here for a map of the project area.