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Flight tracks of the DLR Falcon volcanic ash missions

25. Mai 2010

Figure 1. Flight routes of DLR Falcon during the volcanic ash mission in April/May 2010 [enlarge image]
Since April 19 altogether 17 flights were performed by the DLR Falcon research aircraft to survey and sample the emissions of the Eyjafjalla volcano on Iceland. The measurements were performed on demand of the Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD, German Weather Service) and the Bundesministerium für Verkehr, Bau und Stadtentwicklung (BMVBS, Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development).

The flight track data in ascii format are available for download (see below at end).

A compilation of the flight tracks is shown in Figure 1. Flight track data in ascii format including timestamp (UTC), position data (longitude, latitude), ambient pressure, pressure altitude are available for download on this page. We invite the community to provide further observational data and model results for the general measurement area and/or the particular flight routes to the DLR mission PI (

Table 1 lists information on the Falcon flights (including takeoff/landing times and a short mission objective).

Table 1. List of Falcon flights for the DLR volcanic ash missions in April/May 2010

Date Flight ID Take-off time (UTC) Landing time (UTC) Mission objective
19 April 2010 #100419a 14:12:02 17:54:50 Aged ash plume over Germany & NL (air space in Europe largely closed)
22 April 2010 #100422a 14:14:14 15:35:09 Lidar survey over Germany
#100422b 17:12:55 20:29:30 Aged ash plume south of Norway (embedded in clouds)
23 April 2010 #100423a 11:45:56 14:57:46 Aged ash plume over Germany, Poland & Baltic Sea
29 April 2010 #100429a 12:00:10 14:09:06 Ferry flight (to Edinburgh)
#100429b 15:39:59 18:28:50 Flight to Iceland with lidar survey of ash plume and in-situ profiling at Keflavik airport
1 May 2010 #100501a 10:50:29 14:05:03 Lidar survey of fresh ash plume near volcano and in-situ profiling at Keflavik airport
2 May 2010 #100502a 12:58:36 16:17:57 Return flight with in-situ measurement in the top of the fresh plume over the North Atlantic
3 May 2010 #100503a 11:04:40 13:31:27 Ferry flight to Oberpfaffenhofen
9 May 2010 #100509a 14:26:52 18:01:24 Aged ash plume over Germany (Munich airport & air space closed for ~6 hours)
13 May 2010 #100513a 10:06:25 11:20:04 Ferry flight to Niederrhein
#100513b 12:44:26 15:49:47 Aged ash plume north of English Channel
16 May 2010 #100516a 09:11:17 11:07:31 Ferry flight to Newquay (UK)
#100516b 12:34:50 16:01:16 Aged ash plume over Irish Sea and northern England (UK air space partly closed)
17 May 2010 #100517a 10:38:47 13:29:50 Aged ash plumes over Germany, NL & North Sea
#100517b 14:36:54 17:57:00 Aged dense ash plume over North Sea, extensive in situ measurement
18 May 2010 #100518a 07:25:32 10:34:56 Aged ash plume survey over Germany & North Sea (German air space closure was under consideration)

The instrumentation of the DLR Falcon is listed in Table 2.

Table 2. Falcon instrumentation for the DLR volcanic ash missions in April/May 2010

Instrumentation Measured quantity PI

Remote sensing instrument

2-µm-Wind-Lidar Aerosol backscatter in the column below the aircraft Reitebuch, Rahm

Aerosol in-situ instruments

Multi-channel condensation
particle counter (3 unheated,
2 heated channels)
integral number of ultrafine particles (0.005 < Dp < 2.5 µm) and non-volatile fraction Weinzierl, Minikin
2-channel optical particle counter
(Grimm OPC 1.129)
total & non-volatile size distribution (0.25 µm < Dp < 2.5 µm)
3-λ-PSAP absorption coefficient at λ = 467, λ = 530 and λ = 660 nm
aerosol spectrometer
size distribution accumulation mode, dry state (0.15 µm < Dp < 3.0 µm)
aerosol spectrometer
size distribution coarse mode, ambient state (1 µm < Dp < 30 µm)
2D-C probe size distribution of very large particles, water droplets and ice-crystals (30 µm < Dp < 800 µm) Gayet
Impactor sampler chemical composition and shape of sub-2.5 µm particles Kandler
Giant particle collector GPaC chemical composition in the coarse mode (operated only for selected sequences) Kandler

Trace gas in situ instruments

SO2 fluorescence detector SO2 mixing ratio Schlager
O3 detector (UV absorption) O3 mixing ratio
CO detector (vacuum UV) CO mixing ratio

Meteorological data

Falcon standard instrumentation position, temperature, pressure, humidity, wind Giez
CR-2 dewpoint hygrometer dew point, humidity Voigt

PCASP-100X, FSSP-300, 2 D-C, and GPaC instruments were mounted under the wings of the aircraft. All other instruments are operated in the cabin. Sample air inlets are mounted in the fuselage on the top of the aircraft. The lidar was downward looking.

Data from the instruments listed in Table 2 are available for all flights with following exceptions: Impactor sampling and SO2 detector were not flown on the first flight. The dewpoint hygrometer was only flown between April 22 and May 3, 2010. The GPaC instrument sampled particles successfully only on May 2. The 2D-C probe was added for all flights from April 29 onwards.

Downloads (1.9 MByte; 17 zipped ascii files with flight track of DLR Falcon)

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