The executed flight plans, with comments from the in-flight logs of the instrument scientists and mission directors, are linked below. Each file contains flights from one Observing Cycle, ordered chronologically. These flight summaries are intended to aid an archival researcher to understand what was happening in the flight and flight series (i.e., contiguous series of flights using the same science instrument) in which an observation was performed, including the broader context of conditions, geography, and calibrations on the flight. More information about issues/problems in the data can be found in the headers of the science data.

Each flight is summarized in two pages. Page one contains:

  • a map displaying the planned and flown routes, with each observing leg labeled by observation target,
  • the unique Mission ID of that flight,
  • the UTC departure date of the flight,
  • the observatory's unique designated flight number, and
  • the flight series identification.

Page two contains:

  • "Flight notes", which are comments on issues that affected the aircraft routing and any issues that affected multiple legs or persisted the entire flight,
  • a table identifying UTC departure and arrival times, the SOFIA Plan ID and Primary Investigator name for each target, a string label and coordinates of each target, the UTC start time and duration in minutes of each observing leg, and brief notes about events in flight taken from the Mission Director and Instrument Scientist logs that may have affected data collection or quality;
  • a plot showing the flown altitude versus time, and
  • a plot showing the target name and target elevation versus time. Target elevation is angle above horizon in degrees (so Zenith Angle = 90 - target elevation). The data in these plots are the PLANNED values and are always within a couple of degrees of the observed values (unless the flight was altered significantly from the plan). Leg numbers and target names are also indicated.


  • Some flights were engineering or ferry flights, and though numbered, not all of them appear in these summaries. No science data were taken on these flights
  • Only flight legs with targets are given in the tables. Leg numbering in the tables doesn't start at 1, and leg numbering in the table is not always contiguous because of the need to include aircraft positioning legs.
  • GREAT flights additionally have the instrument configuration given in the tables above the leg notes. Also, GREAT Consortium (guaranteed time) flights are labeled as such.
  • There was incomplete and non-standard logging throughout Cycles 1-3, so the observation notes may not be complete for all flights.
Flight Summaries by SOFIA Cycle
Cycle Number Flight Numbers Dates Link to Summary PDF
9 755-921 2021-07-07 to 2022-09-29 Cycle 9 Summary PDF
8 676-754 2020-08-18 to 2021-07-02 Cycle 8 Summary PDF
7 562-675 2019-05-01 to 2020-02-12 Cycle 7 Summary PDF
6 460-560 2018-05-23 to 2019-04-26 Cycle 6 Summary PDF
5 374-454 2017-02-14 to 2017-11-17 Cycle 5 Summary PDF
4 271-373 2016-01-29 to 2017-02-10 Cycle 4 Summary PDF
3 197-270 2015-03-03 to 2015-12-18 Cycle 3 Summary PDF
2 144-196 2014-02-13 to 2015-02-27 Cycle 2 Summary PDF
1 108-143 2013-06-20 to 2014-02-05 Cycle 1 Summary PDF