The German Aerospace Center has the largest civilian fleet of research aircraft in the world. Given their unique capabilities, they are used as validation instruments in ATM research. In particular, the Institute uses the test aircraft stationed in Braunschweig, namely Airbus A320 ATRA, Falcon 2000LX ISTAR, Dornier Do228-101, MBB Bo105 and Eurocopter EC135 FHS.
The primary objective of flight trials at present is to test new technologies in flight guidance (GBAS, MLAT, RPAS) and newly developed flight procedures (such as continuous descent approach, steep approach, segmented steep approach, curved approach, parallel runway approach, reduced noise operations).
The Institute forms part of the decentralised DLR Design Organisation that is recognised by the authorities; it has qualified development and airworthiness engineers as well as specially trained flight test engineers. It therefore plays a responsible role in the technical preparation of flight testing equipment and the operation of test aircraft for scientific purposes.
The Institute's validation infrastructure is greatly enhanced by the use of DLR test aircraft. If required, the test aircraft may be directly included in ground experiments via the Institute's experimental data link.