Dornier DO 228-101 D-CODE

Dornier DO 228-101 universal research aircraft
Dornier DO 228-101 uni­ver­sal re­search air­craft
Image 1/2, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Dornier DO 228-101 universal research aircraft

The Dornier DO 228-101 re­search air­craft (reg­is­tra­tion D-CODE) is used by the Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (Deutsches Zen­trum für Luft- und Raum­fahrt; DLR) for a range of ex­per­i­ments. These in­clude flow in­ves­ti­ga­tions and ex­per­i­ments in­volv­ing radar and in­frared sen­sors.
Dornier DO 228 101 in flight
Dornier DO 228 101 in flight
Image 2/2, Credit: © DLR. All rights reserved

Dornier DO 228 101 in flight

The Dornier DO 228 101 is dis­tin­guished by some mod­i­fi­ca­tions from the stan­dard spec­i­fi­ca­tion.

The Dornier DO 228-101 (registration D-CODE), an airborne universal research platform, is used by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) for an exceptionally wide range of experiments. For instance, it is used to conduct laminar flow investigations of aerofoil profiles, test optical sensors that are capable of creating a synthetic outside view and flight guidance systems, and conduct remote sensing missions.


The following modifications differentiate the Dornier DO 228-101 from the standard model:

  • Meteorological sensors for measuring turbulence, pressure, humidity, and wind speed and direction
  • Hardpoints on the outside and on top of the fuselage, underneath the wings, on the fuselage fore and aft sections, and on the nose of the fuselage. These can be used to install a nose boom with integrated flow probe capable of measuring airspeed, sideslip angle and angle of attack
  • Cargo door in the left side of the fuselage (1.3 metres x 1.4 metres)
  • Two openings in the rear cabin floor (20 centimetres x 60 centimetres and 50 centimetres x 60 centimetres) for experiment units
  • A telescopic tube leading outside through the front cabin floor, for remote sensing purposes
  • Two bubble windows at the rear of the cabin
  • Power supply (28 volt DC, and 115 and 220 volt AC) for operating experiments and the oxygen system which supplies breathing air to the crew members at altitudes of up to 7 600 metres
  • High-precision IGI navigation system (Ingenieur-Gesellschaft für Interfaces mbH)
  • Mounting rails in the cabin for installing so-called experiment racks
  • Computer system for online communication and data transfer (down- and uplink) between the aircraft and the ground station

Missions - research focus

The Dornier 228-101 'D-CODE' is used for the following experiments:

Laminar flow investigations of aerofoil profiles

These investigations aim to prevent the laminar-turbulent transition, which can be caused by insects, icing or other contaminations of the nose of the aerofoil.
Turbulent flow around an aerofoil is characterised by eddies and crossflow, which increase the aerofoil's viscous drag, causing an increase in fuel consumption. DLR scientists are developing ways to keep the flow around an aerofoil profile laminar for as long as possible, preventing the occurrence of eddies and crossflow, in order to minimise viscous drag.

Enhanced orientation - creating a synthetic outside view using radar and infrared sensors

The DO 228-101 is used to test radar and infrared sensors in order to improve the flow of traffic in the air and on the ground. These sensors are meant to compensate for reduced visibility, for example due to rain, snow or ice. The synthetic outside view system can display digital runways on cockpit monitors and it can visualise flight paths and taxi routes. This system is aimed at providing pilots at complex airports with enhanced orientation capabilities and improving their view of the traffic around them.

Remote sensing with the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC)

DLR also uses the Dornier 228-101 universal research aircraft for remote sensing. It is especially well suited for camera flights, such as those carrying the HRSC (High Resolution Stereo Camera), operated by DLR and also used in space missions.

Technical dataDornier DO 228-101
Length:15.03 metres
Height:4.86 metres
Wingspan:16.97 metres
Cabin length:6.30 metres
Cabin width:1.35 metres
Cabin height:1.55 metres
Seats:15 (fitted with nine seats for DLR research purposes)
Empty mass:3.7 tonnes
Total mass:5.98 tonnes
Engines:two Garret Turboprop TPE 331-5 engines with 715 shp each
Propeller:Four-blade Hartzell propeller - HC-B4TN-5 ML-LT 10574 AB (EL) model with reverse thrust
Range:2700 kilometres
Flight altitude:maximum 7 600 metres (25 000 feet)
Speed:maximum 369 kilometres per hour
Endurance:8 hours
Fuel tank capacity:1 814 kilogrammes
Use:civilian and military uses, passenger flights - mainly deployed in countries with restricted infrastructure
DLR flight facility:Braunschweig
  • Martin Gestwa
    Head of Flight Fa­cil­i­ty Braun­schweig
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    Flight Ex­per­i­ments
    Telephone: +49 531 295-2240
    Lilienthalplatz 7
    38108 Braunschweig

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