Civil Aircraft for Regular Investigation of the atmosphere Based on an Instrument Container (CARIBIC) – One of the most ambitious projects in atmospheric research


Within this Research Project a large cargo container is equipped with high sophisticated instrumentation to investigate the atmosphere during regular in-service flights onboard an AIRBUS A340-600 of the Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

10 Instruments from 7 Research establishments in Europe are implemented to that "flying airlab". The project is co-ordinated by the "Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie" located in Mainz (Germany). More than 100 species can be detected, 20 of them continuously. enviscopes role in this complex project was the modification of the container and the implementation of the scientific instruments.

During the planning stage the total number of instruments, their weight and set-up and the distribution of that payload within the available space of the container was figured out. For the arrangement of the instruments within the mounting racks, multiple scientific and technical demands must be taken into account. Some of the instruments must be suited near the Container Connector Bracket with short distances of the tubing or low curve radii for aerosol measurements, other instruments must be well accessible or removable from the container for maintenance and calibration. In total an instrument mass of approximately 1.000 kg (2200 lbs) have been arranged in 9 instrument racks, most of them in 19 inch standard.

To arrange this number of instruments inside a commercial cargo container the available space was rare. A redesign of our racks, originally designed for the LearJet, was done. Due to the small construction size (width is only 510 mm!) it was possible to integrate five rack rows. Each of them accessible from the front and rear side of the container. Special attachment devices allow the dismounting of all racks from the container in a short time. If desired, racks can be transferred to the individual research institutes during non-flight periods to allow working on the instruments.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         A modification of the container structure was necessary for a proper mounting of the racks. The container floor was substantial reinforced with a second floor mounted on u-tracks keeping a distance of 90 mm to the original aluminium floor. This sandwich construction enhances the strength significantly and allows to conduct all forces of the rack load to the floor. In opposite to a commercial cargo container all forces are carried by the floor structure and the side walls are no longer necessary for the stability of the container. Due to this reason the rear wall could be replaced by removable elements and the original front net was replaced by doors. All covers are made of aluminium and are equipped with EMI protection sealings to enhance the interference resistance.

The complete engineering and constructing work was delivered by enviscope GmbH. The layout was adjusted step by step to the scientific demands and finally presented. Main focus during the development stages was on the airworthiness requirements. All parts where constructed according to aircraft design criteria's to withstand flight and crash loads.

A complete stress report was prepared, gathering all statically and dynamically calculations and was presented to the certification department of Deutsche Lufthansa AG. It became part of their documentation for the certification at the german federal office of civil aviation, Luftfahrt-Bundesamt.

envicope GmbH was as well responsible of the manufacture of all mechanical parts. After complementation of all individual component drawings, the parts were manufactured in our own workshop or by subcontractors and finally all assemblies were mounted. The final work was done at the Max-Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz to work hand in hand with all participants.

Last but not least, enviscope GmbH provides consulting in all questions concerning the set-up and operation of specific technical on-board equipment of the aircraft, such as fail-safe and safety analysis.