Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sea trial on the Aquila

I spent the last couple days preparing survey equipment and assisting with sea trails in Elliot Bay. Tetra Tech and Williamson and Associates are partnering for an upcoming survey aboard the F/V Aquila. The boat was mobilized on Lake Union so on Friday we cast off and sailed through the locks and into Puget Sound. It was exciting to be aboard the vessel with so many different survey systems in use. I won't be aboard for the survey so it was great to see the equipment in action.

My friend Ransom with the PS-60

Aft deck of the Aquila in the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Ballard

Preparing the side pole mounted multibeam sonar for deployment
Of particular interest is Williamson and Associates PROSAS SURVEYOR PS-60.  This amazing synthetic aperture sonar system is a cutting-edge towfish that is setting new standards for towed system capability. It is also the size of a Volkswagen Bus. Fortunately the Aquila is an old crab fishing vessel with plenty of handling capability. I was impressed at how easily the PS-60 was lifted overboard and positioned aft of the vessel for towing. Soon we were collecting high resolution imagery of Ellite Bay including the Alki Beach outfall. Not only does the PS-60 collect high resolution synthetic aperture sonar it was also equipped with a mulitbeam sonar and a sub-bottom profiler. All this equipment operates simultaneously along with and additional multibeam sonar mounted on the vessel. I was very impressed and inspired.

Launching the PS - 60

Bringing aboard the PS-60 at night.

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