The Lufthansa Airbus A350-900 “Erfurt” (registration D-AIXJ) is now being transformed into a flying research laboratory as part of a worldwide unique cooperation between the Lufthansa Group and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).
An important project milestone could now be reached. For the first time, experts from the Lufthansa Group have attached the measuring probe system developed especially for the project to the lower fuselage of the A350 and successfully tested it in flight.
In the airspace over southern Germany, Lufthansa pilots finished a flight programme planned with the certification authorities. The measuring system now being tested on the airplane is the most intricate of its kind and includes sensors for high-frequency and precise measurements of temperature and pressure in addition to the air inlet function. In order to provide the European research infrastructure IAGOS-CARIBIC with full climate data, the Airbus will start collecting it during routine passenger flights in 2024.
Next year, this high-tech laboratory will take off for the first time and collect climate data on selected flights in Lufthansa’s worldwide scheduled operations. The laboratory continuously records more than 100 different trace gases, aerosol, and cloud parameters from the ground to the tropopause region at an altitude of nine to thirteen kilometers.
In addition to the Lufthansa Group and KIT, six other companies (Lufthansa Technik, Airbus, Safran, enviscope, Dynatec, and ACC COLUMBIA Jet Service) are involved in the IAGOS-CARIBIC project. IAGOS stands for “In-service Aircraft for a Global Observing System” and CARIBIC for “Civil Aircraft for the Regular Investigation of the atmosphere Based on an Instrument Container”.