Position Description

Airborne Operator
Work Location Silver Spring, MD
Exemption Status Exempt
Full Time or Part Time Full time
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The National Geodetic Survey partners with NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations, other federal agencies, and contract aircraft to collect airborne gravity data as part of its project, Gravity for the Redefinition of the American Vertical Datum (GRAV-D).  The purpose of this project is to provide data to enhance gravity field models and to modernize the nation’s vertical datum. 

Position Description

In the field:

  • Will be expected to comply with all NOAA requirements for operating NOAA equipment and flying on NOAA aircraft.
  • Will lead and/or support GRAV-D airborne gravity surveys. This includes installing airborne gravity and GNSS+IMU equipment in aircraft, working with pilots to coordinate flight plans, perform pre/post flight procedures, operate the sensor while in flight, and perform post processing and data quality control.
  • Will be expected to do daily backups of collected airborne gravity data and fill in survey logs through Google Drive. Data and a survey report will be submitted to the GRAV-D project manager upon completion of each survey.
  • Six days of work per week and over 8+ hours a day while in the field is a possibility.

In the office: During time periods between field activities, personnel may participate in the following or other related tasks under the supervision of NOAA personnel:

  • Archival of data and metadata tracking
  • Process GNSS+IMU data
  • Process airborne gravity data
  • Final block processing and publishing GRAV-D data on the NGS website
  • Flight Planning
  • NGS software development
  • Research and Development
  • Presentations within NGS, to NGS constituents, or at Conferences.

Travel Required: Up to 90% of domestic or international travel may be required with this position. Field deployments may be greater than 30 days.

Required Skills

  • Experience with field work that includes Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), terrestrial, and/or airborne gravity data collection a plus but not necessarily required. 
  • Must be able to occasionally lift/carry surveying and sensor equipment, up to 85 lbs. individually or team lifting up to 160 lbs.
  • Must be comfortable working independently.
  • Must have a valid US driver’s license.
  • Knowledge of following software/OS is a plus: Novatel Inertial Explorer, Matlab, UNIX/LINUX, ArcGIS/ESRI

Must be a US Citizen or Permanent Resident and be able to pass a background investigation to obtain a security badge to enter the applicable government facility.


BS degree with 30 semester hours in any combination of geodesy, mathematics, physics, astronomy, engineering science, surveying, geodetic surveying, photogrammetry, or geophysics. The course work must have included differential and integral calculus.

COVID-19 Response
Must be in compliance with Executive Order 14042 which requires Federal Contractors to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

ERT is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor and Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer - All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or protected Veteran status.

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