Flying testbed for hydrogen technologies

UpLift Dornier 328-100 Model 20

UpLift Dornier 328-100 Model 20 - Flying testbed for climate-neutral technologies
The Dornier 328 'UpLift' will be used as a flying testbed for climate-friendly aviation technologies, such as fully synthetic fuels or hydrogen as a possible sustainable aircraft fuel of the future. The flying test laboratory is to be used by national industry, but also by SMEs and start-ups, as well as research institutions, to test new, climate-friendly system, fuel and propulsion technologies under real conditions and to significantly accelerate their practical use in air transport.

The Dornier 328-100 Model 20 is being converted into a flying testbed for climate-friendly air transport technologies as part of the UpLift project. The aircraft will be used to measure and quantify the climate protection potential of various new technologies, such as fully synthetic fuels or hydrogen. The aircraft is stationed at the DLR site in Braunschweig, where it is part of the largest civilian research fleet in Europe.

In future projects that are part of the German Federal Government's aeronautics research programme, the flying test laboratory can be used by research institutions and industrial companies – particularly by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups that do not have their own facilities for flight tests. This will make it possible to test promising system, propulsion and fuel technologies for the decarbonisation of air transport under real flight conditions in order to significantly accelerate practical deployment. DLR is acting as the operator of the new aircraft within UpLift and is conducting the flight experiments. The necessary modifications to the aircraft are largely being developed and implemented by the aircraft manufacturer and project partner Deutsche Aircraft GmbH.

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Klimaschutz; BMWK) is making 45.2 million euros available to fund the procurement of the aircraft as well as its conversion and use as a flying testbed for climate-friendly air transport technologies. Anna Christmann, Federal Government Coordinator of German Aerospace Policy, delivered the funding decision to Anke Kaysser-Pyzalla, Chair of the DLR Executive Board, in May 2023. The funding for the years 2023 to 2025 is part of the BMWK aeronautics research programme 'LuFo Klima', the main instrument with which the German government is supporting the aviation industry on its path towards carbon dioxide neutrality.

Main research topics

The path to climate-friendly air transport first requires a precise understanding of the climate impact of the various system and propulsion concepts under very different operating conditions. For this reason, the aircraft is primarily being equipped to burn fully synthetic fuels and to simulate hydrogen exhaust gases, whose climate impact will be measured and quantified in flight. Building on this, UpLift will enable flight testing of the most promising technology alternatives under real conditions, such as the possible use of hydrogen as a sustainable aviation fuel. DLR's flying test laboratory is open to all technologies and is intended to pave the way for a new generation of aircraft. Together and in close partnership with the aeronautics industry, the air transport industry as well as SMEs and start-ups, the Dornier 328-100 Model 20 gives DLR the opportunity to test their new systems, engines and concepts in flight.

Technical data

UpLift Dornier 328-100 Model 20


21.3 metres


21 metres

Number of seats (pax / crew)

In passenger configuration: 32 / 3

In flight configuration 2 / 4

Maximum take-off weight

13,990 kilograms


Six blades, 3.6-metre diameter


Approximately 3700 kilograms

Certification category


Maximum flight altitude (ISA)

9450 metres

Maximum flight duration

Approximately six hours

Maximum cruising speed

Approximately 348 knots TAS

DLR flight operations



Burkhard Wigger

Head of Department
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Flight Experiments
Lilienthalplatz 7, 38108 Braunschweig