AEM Flights Planned for Nance County

Residents of Nance County may notice an unusual sight in the skies in mid- to late August, a low-altitude helicopter towing a large hexagonal frame flying over their area. Officials at the Lower Loup Natural Resources District (LLNRD) say this unique equipment is simply part of a project to map groundwater aquifers and subsurface geology in the district.

Instruments mounted below the helicopter will collect and record geologic measurements to learn more about buried sand and gravel aquifers.  The LLNRD planned the flights with supplemental sponsorship from the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (NDNR).

According to Tylr Naprstek, assistant general manager for the LLNRD, data from the flights will improve understanding of the available groundwater resource and potential groundwater/surface water connections in this area of the state.

Aqua Geo Frameworks, LLC (AGF) is overseeing the flights, processing the data and information, and will produce a final report.Naprstek stated that this technology allows for fast data acquisition, upwards of 50 miles per hour, with detailed information down to 600 feet below the land surface from the air.  The helicopter's planned paths are marked in orange on the map below.

AEM path in Nance County 

The helicopter will fly over much of Nance County in the LLNRD.  Scientific equipment is towed about 100 feet below the helicopter in a ’spider web’ array and is designed to map geologic structures beneath the earth. Naprstek said that the helicopter is manned by experienced pilots who are specially trained for low-level flying with this equipment. The FAA does not allow this type of equipment to be flown over any feeding operation or residence, so homes and feedlots are avoided at all costs.

This scientific program is designed to study the area’s water resources such as sand and gravel aquifers using an aerial perspective.  It is part of an ongoing program of the LLNRD to identify physical occurrences such as changes in geologic materials and sediment types. If you have any questions or request additional information, contact Naprstek at the Lower Loup NRD, 308-728-3221 or