Head of Flight Experiments Facility:
Dr. Burkard Wigger
The DLR facility Flight Experiments provides support to internal and external customers during planning, execution and postprocessing of scientific research missions focusing on flight research and airborne science. These research missions either use the aircraft as a carrier platform for scientific equipment or as a research object in aeronautical research. To fulfil this mission, DLR Flight Experiments operates the largest fleet of civil research aeroplanes and helicopters in Europe.
In order to achieve a high level of efficiency in planning and execution of flight experiments for each specific mission, highly motivated and specialized personnel is available at the facility. These persons include test pilots, flight test engineers, design engineers, maintenance personnel and mission planners. Continuous skill enhancement and training keeps their know-how up to date. Besides modern airborne test-bed technologies, the highly skilled personnel are the facility´s key to success in flight experiments.
The DLR Flight Experiments Facility is located at two sites within Germany. Whereas the Flight Department in Braunschweig has a focus on research that includes the aircraft itself, such as aerodynamics or air traffic management, the Flight Department Oberpfaffenhofen concentrates on flight experiments utilizing the aircraft as a sensor carrier, e.g. in atmospheric research or earth observation. As most of the DLR Institutes that are involved in airborne research are located either in Braunschweig or Oberpfaffenhofen, continuous access to the flying test-beds is assured, especially during the preparation phases of missions and campaigns.
In the scope of several investments over the last years, such as the acquirement of the Airbus A320 ATRA or the Gulfstream G550 HALO, an impressing infrastructure has been established in Braunschweig, as well as in Oberpfaffenhofen, strongly enhancing the abilities of DLR Flight Experiments. This includes hangars, operator laboratories, storage capacities, climate chambers, workshops and office rooms. Thanks to this new infrastructural potential, the quality of the work, both of the staff and of the scientists, has been enormously improved.