The Falcon is the only research aircraft in Europe that is legally able to fly at high altitudes and over long distances in volcanic ash clouds.
DLR (CC-BY 3.0).
The DLR Falcon can fly higher than most commercial aircraft and is extremely robust and agile.
Behind the DC-8, the scientists on board the DLR Falcon measured the exhaust gas composition.
DLR researchers focus on measurements of the biofuel exhaust emissions of soot and sulphur particles, as well as the size and shape of the ice crystals in the condensation trails.
The Dassault Falcon 20E (registration D-CMET) has been extensively modified for use in research by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR). The DLR flight facility in Oberpfaffenhofen primarily uses it for atmospheric research.
The Falcon during a measurement flight in Malaysia.
The Falcon will set off for Malaysia on 9 November 2011 and will be on site for four weeks. About 10 flight missions are planned, from Miri (Borneo) along the coastal regions of Malaysia, over the South China Sea and over the southern Philippines.
The DLR research aircraft started operations in 1976 and has been used in numerous scientific research missions.
Be it Spitsbergen, Greenland, the Tropics or the southern tip of the Americas – its deployment in the service of science has already taken the Dassault Falcon 20E research aircraft to an incredibly diverse range of places. The Falcon has been flying for the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) for the last 35 years. In this time it has contributed to answering many questions in atmospheric research and has established a worldwide reputation. Nevertheless, retirement is still a distant prospect – many more missions are planned.
Order is about to be brought into this apparent 'chaos' as the features and instrumentation of DLR's Falcon research aircraft become fully operational in the run-up to the SCOUT-O3 mission (Stratospheric-Climate Links with Emphasis on the Upper Troposphere and Lower Stratosphere).