An Aircraft for use in the fields of Atmospheric Research, Environmental Monitoring and Survey


Together with the Department for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing of the Rheinbraun AG in Cologne we developed our concept for the dual use of aircraft. Rheinbraun intended to make photographic survey of open cast mining whereas enviscope GmbH started to work on environmental research. In the year 1996 we designed the supplemental equipment of the aircraft to enable the airborne measurements of atmospheric properties.

In the following couple of years the aircraft was more and more employed in the field of environmental research, but still under the concept of dual use with the photogrammetric tasks of Rheinbraun AG.

In 2001 the company enviscope airborne GmbH was established to organize the employment of the aircraft for both fields of applications and to open the concept for other special mission demands. Since then, the concept of operating the Partenavia is successfully practised. New applications in natural- and geo-science have been gained. The co-operation allows to share the aircraft and to fly with different equipment depending on the task. The highly trained pilots of the flight department of RWE POWER AG (formerly Rheinbraun AG) are still under contract and are able to contribute with their experience to research and survey flights.

Within this operational concept we are in the position to offer a multifunctional aircraft which is equipped with the necessary infrastructure. It provides outstanding possibilities for the installation of various measurement systems, both inside and outside the aircraft.

In addition to providing a measurement platform for a wide range of tropospheric measurements, we at enviscope take it as part of our responsibility to provide assistance during all stages of a measurement campaign. Thus we offer assistance during the preparation stages in developing a concept which allows the optimal use of the aircraft. Such a concept must take into account both the scientific requirements and the technical capabilities of the aircraft. Our services remain available during the measurement campaigns to support our clients.

The Aircraft

The Partenavia P68B is a twin-engined aeroplane which offers excellent opportunities for mounting equipment both inside and outside the aircraft. It has been selected as a research aircraft and offers ideal conditions for use in environmental research.

Space and load may be somewhat limited, but they are quite adequate for most scientific flights and can accommodate scientific equipment, a pilot and up to two scientists. Flight times of up to 5 hours are possible, depending on the weight of the scientific equipment selected.

The Partenavia P68B D-GERY offers the following advantages:

  • the wings provide excellent opportunities for mounting equipment under the wings
  • the location of the engines ensure an undisturbed flow of air around the cabin
  • the shape of the fuselage allows the equipment racks to be installed in the centre of the plane, close to the centre of gravity
  • large doors allow access to the equipment from both sides
  • the flight characteristics offer a high degree of safety
  • short take-off and landing lengths enable operation from even small airfields
  • IFR instrumentation allows flights at night and in cloud
  • classification in the 2 tonne class ensures lower operation costs

Technical Details

Length 31.3 ft 9.55 m
Height 11.5 ft 3.4 m
Wing Span 39.4 ft 12 m
Wing Area 200.2 sq.ft 18.6 m2
Maximum Take-Off Weight 4321 lb 1960 kg
Operating Weight Empty 2946 lb 1336 kg
Useful Load 1375 lb 624 kg
Maximum Fuel Load 106 US Gal 401 l
Performance (@ max T.O. weight):
Max. Operating Altitude 15000 ft 4570 m
Max. Speed s.l. 155 ktas 287 km/h
Stall Speed 57 kcas 106 km/h
Cruise Speed (55% power) 135 ktas 250 km/h
Rate of Climb at s.l. 900 ft/min 4.6 m/s
Take-Off Run 1000 ft 305 m
Endurance (55% Power, 45� res.) 5 h 5 h
2 x Avco Lycoming IO 360A1B6 with 200 HP each at 2700 rpm
Electrical Power:
2 x 28 V 70 A Alternators
2 x GPS 1 x Transponder 1 x ADF
2 x VHF-S/E 1 x Marker 1 x Audiosystem
2 x VHF-NAV 2 x DME 1 x A/P-Century II

Basic Equipment

In order to be able to carry out a wide range of atmospheric measurements, we have integrated a basic set of scientific equipment for use in environmental research. The equipment is designed to provide a basic infrastructure and has been selected based on the special requirements for operational flexibility. The basic infrastructure consists of the following equipment:

  • equipment racks for standard 19-inch equipment
  • power supply for the measurement equipment
  • vacuum supply system
  • isokinetic aerosol inlet system
  • inlet system for making chemical measurements and collecting air samples
  • platform on the cabin roof for mounting of external sensors
  • openings in the cabin floor
  • measurement pods suitable for mounting radiation sensors for both upper and lower hemisphere measurements
  • two attachment points under the wings for mounting external loads
  • data acquisition system for meteorological and avionic parameters

The equipment racks consist of four separate units that altogether offer a total height of 40 units (approximately 1.78 m) for mounting 19-inch equipment modules. Vacuum pumps and a power supply are already integrated into the racks. Each of the racks is mounted independently. This enables them to be equipped with the required instruments in the laboratory and thus allows rapid installation of the equipment in the aircraft.

During normal operation the front rack (Rack I) is equipped with the data acquisition system along with meteorological instruments and the power supply unit. The two rear racks (II and III) are intended for the user’s equipment. These two racks have a depth of 640 mm and are accessible from both sides, creating further space for 19-inch equipment if necessary. This allows instrumentation to be installed and operated from both the front and the rear.

The voltage supply provides 28 V DC (max. 1.4 kW). This is intended to supply electricity for the pumps, heating for the instruments and other low voltage equipment and is controlled using a power management board. If necessary, a voltage converter can be installed for the supply of AC 220 V, 50 Hz (max. 1.2 kW) or of 115 V, 400 Hz (max. 1 kW).

A vacuum supply is available using up to eight pumps, each with a flow rate of 2 m3/h. The pump units are modular in design and, depending on the requirements of the equipment, can be installed either in parallel or in series, or in any other configuration desired.

Various inlets provide a supply of external air. Two inlet systems with integrated droplet separator and with differing characteristics extend through the copilot’s window.

A further inlet extends through the cabin roof and has been specially designed for isokinetic aerosol sampling. This third inlet extends through a level roof platform on which sensors can be mounted for external measurements. A large photo hatch in the cabin floor can similarly be used for mounting instruments under the aircraft. These two platforms can be used, as in past measurements, to mount systems for the measurement of radiation from both upper and lower hemispheres and remote sensing applications.

Two further attachment points for external loads are situated under the wings. Standard PMS housings can be mounted on either side, while the right hand attachment point is suitable for mounting larger instruments up to 25 kg. The specially designed housing comes with an easily exchangeable mounting which allows instruments to be exchanged in a very short time.

A complete PC-based data acquisition system with flight tested peripheral devices is also available. This can be used to record flight and meteorological data as well as data from the user’s instrumentation. The software has a number of on-line functions so that the flight plan can be modified interactively if desired.

Your Applications

If you intend to use a small research aircraft as part of your scientific work, then the GERY is certainly an aircraft you should consider. It offers you many exciting possibilities! The modular design of the basic scientific infrastructure offers you an optimal arrangement of your instrumentation, and allows your equipment to be mounted both inside and outside the aircraft.

It takes just about 6 hours to install our equipment for atmospheric measurements. This allows a highly flexible planning of field campaigns. And if just the under-wing pods and only few instruments inside the aircraft are required for the measurements, both tasks, namely photogrammetry and atmospheric measuremts can easily be combined. This gives the opportunity for performing measurements over long periods of time during standard photo-flights, both saving costs and time.

Our company is not merely a supplier of an aircraft, but regards itself as provider of the link between your scientific requirements and the technical possibilities available in a research aircraft. For this reason, enviscope GmbH also offers support in the formulation and experimental realisation of your research goals.