Research aircraft fleet

In ac­tion world­wide – fly­ing for re­search

ATRA in flight
ATRA in flight
Image 1/9, Credit: WTD 61

ATRA in flight

ATRA in flight tests for the HIN­VA (High Lift In­flight Val­i­da­tion) project, for qui­eter and slow­er air­port ap­proach­es.
Research aircraft A320 ATRA
Re­search air­craft A320 ATRA
Image 2/9, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Research aircraft A320 ATRA

DLR’s re­search air­craft A320 ATRA (Ad­vanced Tech­nol­o­gy Re­search Air­craft) is a mod­ern and flex­i­ble flight test­ing plat­form that sets a new bench­mark for fly­ing test beds in Eu­ro­pean aerospace re­search – and not just be­cause of its size.
HALO in its hangar
HA­LO in its hangar
Image 3/9, Credit: © DLR / Ernsting

HALO in its hangar

With the HA­LO (High Al­ti­tude and Long Range Re­search Air­craft), a con­vert­ed Gulf­stream G 550, DLR is able to study the at­mo­sphere at heights of up to 15,000 me­tres.
HA­LO dur­ing mea­sure­ment flights from Kiruna, Swe­den
Image 4/9, Credit: DLR / Minikin (CC-BY 3.0)

HALO during measurement flights from Kiruna, Sweden

In the GW-LY­CLE (Grav­i­ty Wave Life Cy­cle) project, DLR used the HA­LO re­search air­craft to car­ry out mea­sure­ment flights from Kiruna, Swe­den, to in­ves­ti­gate the for­ma­tion, prop­a­ga­tion and dis­si­pa­tion of grav­i­ty waves as they move through the at­mo­sphere.
ATRA, Falcon and HALO
Jet air­craft in the DLR re­search fleet: ATRA, Fal­con and HA­LO
Image 5/9, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Jet aircraft in the DLR research fleet: ATRA, Falcon and HALO

Jet air­craft in the DLR re­search fleet. The Air­bus A320 ATRA, Gulf­stream G550 HA­LO and Das­sault Fal­con are part of the largest civil­ian re­search fleet in Eu­rope.
HALO landing in snowy landscape
HA­LO land­ing in Kiruna
Image 6/9, Credit: : DLR / Minikin (CC-BY 3.0)

HALO landing in Kiruna

HA­LO land­ing in Kiruna, Swe­den, with thrust re­versers de­ployed.

HALO in snowy landscape
HA­LO ar­riv­ing in Kiruna
Image 7/9, Credit: DLR / Minikin (CC-BY 3.0)

HALO arriving in Kiruna

Fly­ing from north­ern Swe­den, the DLR re­search air­craft HA­LO and Fal­con in­ves­ti­gat­ed the com­po­si­tion of the at­mo­sphere.
The HALO research aircraft
The HA­LO re­search air­craft
Image 8/9, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

The HALO research aircraft

HA­LO en­ables at­mo­spher­ic re­search any­time, any­where.
Eurocopter EC 135 FHS and the autonomous helicopter superARTIS
Eu­ro­copter EC 135 FHS and the au­tonomous he­li­copter su­per­AR­TIS
Image 9/9, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Eurocopter EC 135 FHS and the autonomous helicopter superARTIS

Crewed and un­crewed air­borne sys­tems in shared airspace. With the help of sup­port sys­tems, the Fly­ing He­li­copter Sim­u­la­tor (FHS), a mod­i­fied Eu­ro­copter EC 135, and the au­tonomous he­li­copter su­per­AR­TIS prac­tice fly­ing in for­ma­tion.

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) operates the largest civilian fleet of research aircraft and helicopters in Europe. These highly-modified aircraft are either themselves the subject of aeronautics research or are used to observe the Earth, the ocean surfaces and the atmosphere. The aircraft are stationed at DLR’s sites in Braunschweig and Oberpfaffenhofen. This facility provides scientific services for DLR flight experiments as well as for other national and international institutions, public authorities and industrial customers.

Test pilots carry out test and measurement campaigns in Germany and abroad

About 100 personnel are responsible for the aircraft and helicopters – technicians, engineers and pilots. The DLR pilots have a high degree of specialisation, including a test pilot licence, and are trained in regular simulator sessions, including special flight situations such as flying together with uncrewed aerial vehicles. The areas covered by the research fleet, over water, ice and land, range from Greenland to the Antarctic, from the USA to Europe and from Russia to Japan – across every ocean and continent.

Elaborate preparations for research flights

There are around 30 scientific missions per year in each aircraft’s log book. Up to 250 flying hours are completed in the service of science. However, each of these operations requires detailed and technically complex preparations, which sometimes necessitates extensive modification of the aircraft; this may include aeronautical modifications. The necessary development and approval processes can be carried out by DLR itself. Smaller changes can be approved by DLR, while major modifications that may include structural changes to the aircraft are implemented together with the LBA (the Luftfahrt-Bundesamt, that is, the national civil aviation authority of Germany) and the (European Aviation Safety Agency).

  • Martin Gestwa
    Head of Flight Fa­cil­i­ty Braun­schweig
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    Flight Ex­per­i­ments
    Telephone: +49 531 295-2240
    Lilienthalplatz 7
    38108 Braunschweig
  • Ingmar Mayerbuch
    Head of Flight Fa­cil­i­ty Oberp­faf­fen­hofen
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    Flight Ex­per­i­ments
    Telephone: +49 8153 28-2962
    Fax: +49 8153 28-1347
    Münchener Straße 20
    82234 Weßling
Research aircraft fleet

Main menu