European Facility For Airborne Research

European Facility For Airborne Research Sept. 30, 2023, 11:11


French Service of Instrumented Aircraft for Environmental Research (SAFIRE)

Created in 2005, SAFIRE is a French public research infrastructure providing the scientific community with instrumented research aircraft for altitude environmental measurements, based in Toulouse, France. Jointly managed by Météo-France, the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the French space agency (CNES), SAFIRE, one of the 13 operators under the EUFAR2’s transnational access framework, operates the following three research aircraft:

  • the Falcon-20: a jet aircraft used for multidisciplinary high-troposphere and low-stratosphere measurements
  • ATR-42: Bi turbo-prop for mid-troposphere measurements (commonly used for chemistry, microphysics, remote-sensing and turbulence, etc.)
  • Piper Aztec: Bi-prop used for multidisciplinary, low troposphere research

A wide variety of instruments can be installed on the aircraft, either inside the cabin, on the fuselage or under the wings, according to the physico-chemical parameters of the atmosphere or the Earth’s surface to be investigated. Up to date SAFIRE’s aircraft have participated in 11 EUFAR funded research campaigns and 3 summer schools. 4 more campaigns using the SAFIRE fleet are expected this year, in particular, the ATR-42 aircraft, which will be involved in 3 research campaigns clustered with the multinational DACCIWA campaign set to take place in June/July 2016 investigating the impact of pollution over South West Africa.

An article on SAFIRE in the Journal - La Météorologie was recently published (May 2016), presenting a review of the facilities available, a description of the organisation of SAFIRE and the management of experimental campaigns. In addition, there is an introduction to operations, instrumentation and data processing, including two examples of completed research campaigns. To access the article (available only in French), click here.

For more information, visit the SAFIRE website:


SAFIRE's fleet of research aircraft: Falcon-20 (far left), Piper Aztec and the ATR-42

Originally published on June 1, 2016
Last update on Sept. 13, 2016

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SAFIRE's 3 research aircraft at the Francazal aerodrome, Toulouse, France (Photo credit - Jean-Marc Destruel)

SAFIRE's 3 research aircraft at the Francazal aerodrome, Toulouse, France (Photo credit - Jean-Marc Destruel)

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