Lufthansa turning Airbus A350-900 into a Flying Research Lab: Lufthansa and several research institutes, converting an Airbus A350-900 into a climate research aircraft to predict the weather even more accurately, analyzing climate changes even more precisely and researching even better how the world is developing.
Conversion of “D-AIXJ” has begun:
Converting an aircraft into a climate research plane poses major challenges. Lufthansa has chosen the most modern and economical long-haul jet in its fleet – an Airbus A350-900 named “Erfurt” (registration D-AIXJ). In three stages, the “Erfurt” will now become a flying research laboratory.
In Lufthansa Technik’s hangar in Malta, preparations were made for a complex air intake system below the belly. The aircraft weighs in around 1.6 tons container with measuring equipment. The so-called CARIBIC measurement laboratory, acronym “Civil Aircraft for the Regular Investigation of the Atmosphere Based on an Instrument Container”
The “Erfurt” is expected to take off from Munich at the end of 2021 for its first flight in the service of climate research, measuring around 100 different trace gases, aerosol, and cloud parameters in the troposphere region.
Cooperation between aviation companies and research institutes:
The A350 conversion, which has now been launched, was preceded by an extremely elaborate planning and development phase of about four years involving more than ten companies (in particular Lufthansa, Lufthansa Technik, Airbus, Safran, enviscope, and Dynatec) as well as the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) as representative of a larger scientific consortium. The Lufthansa Group has been a reliable partner of climate research since 1994 and since it has equipped several aircraft with special instruments. This is now the first time worldwide on an Airbus A350-900 aircraft.