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The Owyhee Air Research Periodical

THIS ISSUE: A Good Year Going Turbo Infrared Imaging and Bats Meet the Team

Welcome! This is your access to aerial reserach and news at OAR.

January 3 2014 JOHN ROMERO

A GOOD YEAR Message from John

Thank you, our friends and clients, again for everything you’ve helped us accomplish; we couldn’t have made it this far without you. Thoughts? contact John at

John Romero Chief of Operations January 2014



With the turn of the year, it feels an apt moment for reflection. In 2013, Owyhee Air Research completed its seventh year. Resurfacing memories of challenges, pivotal moments and views out airplane windows nothing short of awe-inspiring, make me think to myself it’s been a great ride...or, rather, It’s been a great flight, and we couldn’t be more grateful for these years and those to come. We’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the best professionals on the planet. So, we’ve created OAR NEWS which purpose is to give you an insight into happenings at OAR, but more importantly, act as a source of information regarding aerial services and research-based surveying. We hope that it proves useful to you.

Bat leaving cave entrance; Bruce Greenhalgh; OAR IR camera

An increasing number of wildlife researchers add an infrared camera to their surveying toolbox. Those seeing the most fruitful results of new IR surveying methods are perhaps researchers whose interests are of the nocturnal kind. Nocturnal and crepuscular species, whose most active time is in the dim hues of twilight, traditionally pose ma jor obstacles for data-collectors.


Human observation methods are complicated by low-



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Wh a t i s th er ma l ima g i n g ? Thermal imaging (thermography or IR imaging) refers to an infrared imaging system that detects and registers infrared radiation. In wildlife research, thermal imaging allows one to discern infrared emissions from target animals against background vegetation or habitat. So w hy “ th er m a l ” i f we ’ re ta lk i n g i nfra re d ? Infrared radiation and thermal radiation are not the same, but they do occur under some of the same conditions and, in fact, are directly proportional, making infrared radiation a good indicator of thermal radiation levels emitted from warm objects.

Tes ted applications of IR ima ging in wildlife s tudies Evaluations of Reproductive Processes Disease diagnosis Thermoregulation Quantifying Populations Behavioral Research

Airport Nampa, 83687 208.442.5405 light situations3305 and, as isRoad the case withIdaho bats, large population numbers. Often hard data from these studies must be taken with a grain of salt to compensate for unfortunately high error potential.

IR Camera in Tow, Surprising Results For Bat Researchers For Margrit Betke, at Boston University, and a team of Brazilian freetailed bat specialists, IR footage offered more accurate data than human observation methods, and revealed some surprising results. In 2008, the team set out with a Merlin Mid IR video-recording system, arriving at dusk at the openings of six ma jor free-tailed bat colony caves throughout the southwestern United States. As the sun set, they pressed “Record” while colonies emerged en masse. Bats’ warm thoraxes glow bright in heat-sensitive video, making identification relatively easy against the dark background of a cool environment. With this advantage and computer software (designed by Betke) that compares sequential video frames, the team could produce not only consistent, but reliable population counts. “Bad news for bats and bad news for humans” Their results revealed six colonies may have plummeted from 54 million to a mere 4 million members since 1957--bad news for bats and also bad news for humans. These bats feed on the moth Helicoverpa Zea, whose larva is one of North American farmers’ most destructive enemies. Using the same software, the team could decipher and track hundreds of individual bats at once, creating a glowing view of flow episodes, flight patterns, and simultaneously opening a new door into bat (continued on back fold)

January 2014


OAR GOES TURBO popular ride for aerial photography, skydiving and backcountry flying.


OAR owner, John Romero says, “we’re looking for ways to better serve our clients and the 206 is a good way to do that.”

6 people Cargo Load

16,000 lbs. Take-off Distance

Image courtesy

Introducing the Cessna Turbo 206, newest & beefiest addition to the OAR fleet. As the “sports utility vehicle of the air”, the 206 is known for its advantages in surveying, its leg room and its muscle. Short take-offs, sharp climbs, and agility make it a

The advantages of a larger aircraft are many. If your interests are wildlife surveying or aerial photography the 206’s greater stability and bigger windows may be the most important advanages to note. Improved visibility and stability equate to sharper photos and more efficient surveying. (continued on back fold)

835 ft. Max Cruise Speed

152 kts.







You may have met them before. If so, here are a few things maybe you didn’t know... CAT HY ROME RO

Cathy studied Education and Spanish at the University of Nevada and has been her family’s head cook and supervisor for 30 years. At OAR, you could say her role is the same. She constructs order in paperwork chaos, and oversees all ma jor decisions,


John has a Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Management from the University of Nevada. Shortly after graduation, he joined the Reno Air Guard to fly fighter jets and later flew commerically as a captian for American Airlines, leading him into a 30+ year career in aviation.

J OH N ROME RO Chief of Operations Chief Pilot

About wildlife, he says, “I never lost my love for it.” So in 2006, his wife and trusting confidant of 32 years, createed Owyhee Air Research.


On top of a good sense of humor, Janna has a keen eye for patterns and geographical detail. She loves little more than to combine her passion for natural resources with her passion for aviation.


Deneice is a people person, more organized than a Rolodex, and a Microsoft Office Suite wiz.

DE NEIC E A NDE RS ON Administrative Assistant

She moved to Boise in 2007, completed a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, and landed in the OAR office where she shares her love of wildlife and her office expertise. If you’ve called the OAR office, you probably have been graced by her “hello” on the other end.

BRUCE GRE ENHA LGH Technology Specialist

Bruce has a wide range of knowledge and diverse work background—including, a stint as musician and escort to the US President, time as a Haz-mat technician and 30 years in Naval undersea warfare. He retired with 33 years of service, came to Idaho with his wife, Janna, and now employs his insight and skills at OAR.

After completing a degree in Biological sciences, Jana began flying right whale and bird surveys and quickly acumulated over a decade of small airplane experience.


Jamie is a well-versed aviator with seasons flying small planes in Alaska; single-pilot, night freight in Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado; corporate airplanes with American Eagle; air ambulances; and B-727s.

Having grown up on a ranch near Sheridon, Wyoming, he’s been an outdoorsman since birth and is pleased to be combining his skills at the yoke with natural resources--and grateful to be doing so in the places and with people he enjoys.


BEN B LAK E Aircraft Mechanic

Ben has a Bachelor’s degree in Missions Aviation Technology and joins us to fill the role of Aircraft Mechanic, Flight Instructor, and IR Camera Operator. He loves flying in the beautiful mountains of the Northwest and enjoys the challenges offered by the diversity of his position.




Original articles and more information on the statistical data


association techniques and the software Betke used to

behavioral research. “Difficult to [accomplish] without IR technology, “ Betke says.

found in an online search for:

calculate population numbers and flight patterns can be


“Difficult to [accomplish] without IR technology “

BATS." Journal of Mammalogy. 89.1 (2008): 18-24. Print.

She encourages the use of IR as an accurate and reproducible counting method, and summates that it’s feasible to determine small changes in intra and interseasonal colony levels, while also monitoring the impact of feeding and roosting changes on bats and other crepuscular or nocturnal species.

Betke, M., Hirsh, D.E., Bagchi, A., Hristov, N.I., Markis N.C., Kunz,

Though IR surveying may not be fit for all, it’s proving to be useful for many wildlife researchers, serving a broad range of uses limited to perhaps only ones creativity.


GOING TURBO (CONTINUED) New services like large, cargo transport and extended, backcountry flights will now be on the list of services OAR will happily provide if you call and ask them nicely.

In this study Betke and team used a Merlin Mid IR infrared camera, storing data as 12-bit values in 320/240 digital video at 60fps.

OAR’s Turbo 206 is already clocking hours. It’s FAA Part 135 Charter certified, certified for federal contracts, and available for natural resource surveying, cargo flights and charters.

If you’d like to read more about the Turbo 206, visit

Let us know if you have any questions... (208) 442-5405 3305 Airport Rd. Nampa, Idaho 83687

OAR newsletter 2 2014  
OAR newsletter 2 2014