Airborne research often involves large teams that may be both nationally-based and international. Any single flight represents part of an iceberg that consists of many layers of preparatory activities, many of which are not seen by the casual observer. These include:
- preparing the scientific justification and funding applications,
- helping the researchers to adapt their instruments to aeronautical regulations, and dealing with the certification documentation that is required by the aerospace authorities,
- planning the logistics for sending a team of scientists, engineers and pilots to an operating location that may be far from their home,
- preparing, calibrating and installing an array of cutting-edge instrumentation on the aircraft,
- making detailed flight plans that address the science objectives but ensure safe operation of the aircraft amongst the surrounding air traffic,
- quality-checking and processing the flight data,
- scientific analysis of the data, publishing reports and papers.
SAFIRE is a long-standing member of the EUFAR community. During the autumn of 2016, they supported the EPATAN-NEAREX campaign based in Iceland and part of the larger NAWDEX (North Atlantic Waveguide and Downstream impacts EXperiment). This was a multi-national initiative to improve undertstanding of the dynamical meteorological processes that generate high-impact weather events over Western Europe (strong winds and heavy precipitation). Using its previous program of financial support from the European Commission, EUFAR was able to provide Transnational Access to the SAFIRE aircraft to a group of scientists working in Norway during this campaign.
This short video illustrates several of the above parts of the story of an atmospheric research flight. In the video, you will also see aircraft of another EUFAR member, DLR, that were contributing other measurements as part of NAWDEX.
The entry gallery shows the SAFIRE Falcon-20 prior to a flight during the MAGIC-Comet airborne campaign, Toulouse-Francazal, January 2018.