SPURT campaigns 2001-2003 -flights with Learjet 35A

SPURenstofftransport in der Tropopausenregion
Trace gas transport in the tropopause region

… was an AFO2000 research project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (bmbf) under contract No. 07ATF27.

The focus of the research program was the study of transport processes of chemical species in the UTLS (Upper Troposphere Lower Stratosphere) region. For this reason cross-sectional flights were performed with the Learjet 35 A D-CGFD equipped with high resolution in-situ instruments to measure the chemical tracers H2O, O3, NOy, CO, N2O, CH4, CO2, SF6, CFC-11 and CFC-12.

The Partners

The following groups were involved:

Organisation Instrument / role
Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University Frankfurt,
Institute for Meteorology and Geophysics
Gas chromatograph GhoST II, tracer measurements
Max Planck Institute for Chemistry,
Department of Atmospheric Chemistry
Tunable Diode Laser Absorption, tracer measurements
Research Centre Jülich,
Institute of Chemistry and Dynamics of the Geosphere – Stratosphere (ICG-I)
Ly-alpha Hygrometer and Ozone photometer, H2O and Ozone measurements
ETH Zürich,
Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science – Atmospheric Chemistry
Trace gas measurements (NO, NOy and O3)
ETH Zürich,
Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science – Atmospheric Chemistry
Meteorological support; forecast and analysis
Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz,
Institute for Atmospheric Physics
Idealised Tropopause Modelling
enviscope GmbH
in co-operation with Gesellschaft für Flugzieldarstellung (GFD)
Aircraft technical support, instrument operation

The Concept

The Learjet 35A of enviscope/GFD was chosen for the research task because of its:

  • long range capability
  • flight height up to more than 45.000 ft
  • availability on short notice promoted.

Especially the possibility to request the aircraft on short notice and to integrate the instruments within short time was to the best advantage to get the project funded. Performing measuring flights without occupying the aircraft for long time saves money and enhances the chance of projects to get promoted.
To achieve the goal of a very fast integration of the instruments both the aircraft and the instruments have to be well prepared and compact modules in combination with fast-locking systems have to be developed to enable an integration within very short time. This was accomplished in the SPURT project very well within a harmonic co-operation between all involved groups which pulled together to reach this goal.
After a preparation phase and a successful first integration campaign of the instruments in November 2001, which ended with the certification procedure and a first measuring flight, all succeeding campaigns were performed with a blocking of the aircraft of only FOUR (!) days. A typical time schedule of a SPURT measuring campaign is given in the following table:

Typical schedule of a SPURT campaign
day # Time Main activities Blocking of aircraft
1 17:00 – 20:00 Arrival, preparation of integration in the hangar
2 07:00 – open end Installation of payload into the aircraft, installation of racks, basic instrumentation, data acquisition, and power supply inlet systems, electrical connections, first performance tests X
3 07:00 – open end Cabin leak test, „free training“ for scientific instrumentation, final tests, calibration work X
4 06:00 – 08:30 Flight preparation, warming up of instruments, crew briefing X
09:00 – 19:00 Two measuring flights with a short break at destination airport
19:00 – open end De-briefing, data collection, quick-looks, instrument calibration, preparation for next flight
5 06:00 – 08:30 Flight preparation, warming up of instruments, crew briefing X
09:00 – 19:00 Two measuring flights with a short break at destination airport
19:00 – 21:00 Data collection, de-installation of instrumentation from aircraft
21:00 – open end De-briefing in restaurant
6 08:00 – 10:00 Packing of equipment, departure

The Flights

In total eight short SPURT-campaigns were performed at different seasons with flightsbetween the Arctic and the Subtrotics.

The results of the successful measuring flights have been presented at several conferences and will be published in a ACP Special Issue.
From our point of view the most mentionable „result“ of SPURT was the excellent teamwork of scientists, engineers, pilots, technicians etc. which stimulated still to work beyond the individual physical limits.

Some Impressions

Some impressions of the excellent teamwork we experienced during the SPURT-campaigns are shown in the following photographs:

Thanks …

… to all participants.

During the SPURT-project we became friends with a lot of people and are looking forward to start further interesting activities in the near future. Let’s meet again soon at the home base of our Learjet in Hohn in the facilities of our partner GFD, who guaranteed all times a pleasant work climate.

… especially to Uwe Heinrich and Hartmut Lange from the Restaurant and Hotel „De Aalversuper“ who opened the kitchen and the bar for the SPURT-team even late at night.