Predicting the weather in Malta is ostensibly difficult, with any small change in wind direction ruining your picnic plans, or seeing the sunshine belting out when you’re resigned to staying in. That could all be set to change, thanks to Lufthansa and several other research institutes working on a rather unique project.
More accurate predictions
In a LinkedIn post, Lufthansa Group revealed how they chose “Erfurt”, an Airbus A350-900, to become a flying research laboratory. It will also do more than just help better predict the weather. Climate change can be more closely analysed, and new light can be shed on how the world’s developing.
In Lufthansa Technik’s Malta hangar, the first and most extensive conversion work was carried out, with preparations for a complex air intake system below the aircraft belly.
Test insertions ensued, and at the end came the certification of a climate research laboratory weighing around 1.6 tons. Called CARIBIC (Civil Aircraft for the Regular Investigation of the Atmosphere Based on an Instrument Container) measurement laboratory, it is part of a comprehensive European research consortium.
The “Erfurt” is expected to take off from Munich at the end of 2021 for its first climate research flight. In the process, it will be measuring around 100 different trace gases, aerosol and cloud parameters in the tropopause region (an altitude of 9 to 12km).
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