NCAR hosts a rendezvous of Gulfstream jets

6 May 2011  •  “There’s always something you like better on the other aircraft,” says Katrin Witte (German Aerospace Center, or DLR). On 17–18 January, Witt and eight of her colleagues got to compare their new Gulfstream G550 jet, dubbed HALO (High Altitude and Long Range Research Aircraft), with its closest counterpart—the NSF/NCAR Gulfstream V called HIAPER (High-Performance Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research), which debuted in 2005.

HALO stopped in Boulder for two days after a maintenance visit to the Gulfstream facility in Savannah, Georgia. It was the first time the planes were on the same runway, which gave scientists, engineers, and pilots from both labs a chance to meet and share notes. HALO is slightly larger than HIAPER, with an extra window and advanced avionics, but overall the planes are quite similar. Both of them went through extensive multi-year conversions from business to research use.

“DLR has incorporated a very comprehensive set of modifications to its aircraft,” says Jeffrey Stith, director of NCAR’s Research Aviation Facility. “I’m especially impressed by the type and quality of instrumentation that is planned for HALO.”

HALO was acquired to replace the DLR’s Falcon 20E, which has been retrofitted several times over the last 35 years. The plane’s first field campaign is slated for late 2011. “We’re definitely hoping to collaborate closely with NCAR,” says chief technical officer Oliver Brieger. According to Stith, “Future campaigns will benefit greatly from the global-scale capabilities of these two platforms.”

Group shot of HALO and HIAPER staff
HALO and HIAPER staff gathered with their respective aircraft at NCAR’s Research Aviation Facility in Broomfield, Colorado, on 18 January 2011 for this group photo. A larger version is available.
Left to right:
Aaron Steinback, Jason Morris, David Rogers, and Brent Kidd (NCAR)
Alexander Wolf, Steffen Gemsa, and Stefan Grillenbeck (DLR)
Henry Boynton (NCAR)
Andreas Giez (DLR)
Bob Olson (NCAR)
Thomas Ruhtz (Free University of Berlin)
William Cooper (NCAR
Katrin Witte and Wolfgang Schneider (DLR)
Teresa Campos (NCAR)
Mirko Glaesser (DLR)
Julie Haggerty, Richard Friesen, Andy Watt, Jeff Stith, Stuart Beaton, Ta Hung Viet, Mark Lord, and Allen Schanot (NCAR)
Oliver Brieger (DLR)


*Media & nonprofit use of images: Except where otherwise indicated, media and nonprofit use permitted with credit as indicated above and compliance with UCAR's terms of use. Find more images in the NCAR|UCAR Multimedia & Image Gallery.

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research under sponsorship by the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.