HALOHALO The High Altitude and LOng Range Research Aircraft will be the new German research aircraft for atmospheric science and earth observation. HALO will be operated by DLR Flight Operations in Oberpfaffenhofen. The institute of Atmospheric Physics will be one of the major scientific users of HALO.
HALO will be based on a Gulfstream G550 - an ultra long range business jet. However, before the aircraft will take off for the study of scientific questions it will undergo significant airframe modifications that transform the luxury passenger aircraft into a well-equipped flying laboratory. The fuselage will contain more than 20 fuselage cutouts up to a diameter of 50 cm for air intakes and optical windows. Hard points at the lower part of the fuselage and at the wings will accommodate external stores for the installation of instrument containers. Its combination of long range (> 8000 km), high ceiling altitude (15 km), large instrument load capacities (3000 kg) and extensive modifications will turn HALO into a unique research aircraft in Europe.
The scientific operation of HALO will start in summer 2009. A suite of ten demonstration missions has been selected for the first phase of scientific use. These missions will be performed in cooperation with various scientific institutions. One of the first missions (CIRRUS) in autumn 2009 will be focused on the study of cirrus clouds and will be coordinated by the Institute of Atmospheric Physics. Cirrus clouds consist of ultra fine ice particles in the upper troposphere. During CIRRUS physical and chemical properties of these ice particles will be investigated. What is the influence of aircraft and contrails on the formation of cirrus clouds?What is the impact of these ice clouds on climate? The institute of Atmospheric Physics will contribute with a set of sophisticated instruments developed for HALO to the investigation of these questions.
The oxidation capacity of the atmosphere, transport processes between atmospheric layers, the ozone depletion in the polar stratosphere and extreme weather events are topics of further demonstration missions with HALO during the first period of its deployment.