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 Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland emitted large quantities of ash and sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere during its eruptions in March and April 2010. This photograph was acquired on 1 May 2010 during a measurement flight by the DLR Falcon research aircraft.
The DLR research aircraft ATRA (Advanced Technology Research Aircraft) and Falcon started their joint flight tests from the Braunschweig research airport.
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.
In the morning, the DLR Falcon is towed onto the apron at the Armstrong Flight Research Center in Palmdale, California, before a research flight. The Falcon was housed in the same hangar as the SOFIA airborne observatory during the research mission with NASA.
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.
After a research flight, the Falcon is towed past the SOFIA airborne observatory on the way to its parking position.
The DLR Falcon flies with its measuring inlets in the upper part of an engine exhaust gas plume.
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 DLR Falcon on a measurement flight. The nose boom is fitted with a five-hole sensor to measure such things as the static and dynamic pressures in the atmosphere. Through intakes on the fuselage exterior of the Falcon, scientists collected data relating to atmospheric trace gases during the SHIVA flights, which enabled them to demonstrate that biogenic halogen compounds can be transported into the higher layers of the atmosphere by tropical storms.
Thanks to DLR's Falcon research aircraft, a lot of insight was gained into the spread and density of the ash cloud resulting from the Eyjafjallajökull eruption across Europe.
For its research flights in Malaysia, the DLR Falcon research aircraft was equipped with special measuring instruments. Measurement flights showed that huge tropical storms lift biogenic halogen compounds into the upper troposphere – from where they can reach the region of the ozone layer.
The Falcon is towed out of its hangar in Miri, Borneo.
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.
The Falcon 20E in flight. The DLR research aircraft can carry up to 1100 kilograms of scientific instrumentation payload. The instruments are installed inside and below the cabin, as well as under the wings. They include a flow measuring device, the nose boom, air intakes and under-wing pods. Among other things, they include a flow measuring device, the so-called nose boom and antennas which can be mounted on the exterior of the aircraft.
The Falcon on 29 September 1975 at the acceptance flight in Bordeaux.
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.
The Falcon 20E makes its way to the runway
View from the cockpit of the Falcon during a research flight in 2002. The 1.8-metre nose boom has a five-hole sensor at its tip that provides scientists with very accurate information about, among other things, the static and dynamic pressure in the atmosphere.
The DLR Falcon 20E research aircraft was selected as the most appropriate aircraft for measurement flights. The Falcon has a full range of instruments to record flight dynamics and a nose boom that records the local incidence angle at the front of the aircraft in an undisturbed airflow.
Mission preparations: In the DLR maintenance hangar at Oberpfaffenhofen Airport, the scientific instruments and sensors are installed and checked. The total weight of the scientific equipment on board the Falcon exceeds one tonne.
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).
The DLR research aircraft Falcon 20 E is one of the most important aids in the investigation of the Earth and the atmosphere. The Falcon is used in research projects worldwide.