FRANKFURT, GERMANY — Lufthansa Group has tested a measurement probe system on one of its Airbus A350-900s, which is being modified as a flight laboratory. The airline aims to start research flights for the European IAGOS-CARIBIC project next year, collecting atmospheric data. 

The measurement probe, fitted to the A350’s lower fuselage, has sensors for precise, high-frequency measurement of temperature and pressure. A laboratory system, weighing 2t and featuring around 20 instruments, will be installed in a cargo container and connected to the external measurement probe to enable analysis of the atmosphere. The data collected will help to improve climate models. Lufthansa Group has a history of supporting climate-research programs; it previously used an Airbus A340-600 for work connected to the CARIBIC project.

The key objectives of Lufthansa Group's climate-research programs are to gather atmospheric data using in-service aircraft, with the aim of improving today’s atmospheric and climate models and contributing to climate research. 

The data collected will help to identify process-specific errors and their causes in climate models, ultimately improving their predictive capabilities. The company has modified several aircraft over the years, including the Airbus A350-900, which has been fitted with a measurement probe system for precise, high-frequency measurement of temperature and pressure. 

The data will serve the European IAGOS-CARIBIC project, and the Lufthansa network will commence research flights from next year. The company aims to make a valuable contribution to climate research to improve the future climate on Earth.

Previous aircraft modifications carried out by Lufthansa Group for climate-research purposes include the Airbus A340-600 (D-AIHE).

The measurement probe system used on the modified Airbus A350-900 for climate-research purposes is claimed to be "the most complex of its kind" with sensors for precise, high-frequency measurement of temperature and pressure. The system is fitted to the A350's lower fuselage and includes a laboratory system, weighing some 2t and featuring around 20 instruments, for installation in a cargo container. 

Between the ground and the tropopause, the laboratory will document the existence of more than 100 features, encompassing trace gases, aerosols, and cloud composition. The sensors and data collection capabilities of the measurement probe system allow for the recording of climate-relevant parameters at high accuracy and temporal resolution, which is not possible with satellite- or ground-based measurement systems.