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Airborne Research & Survey Facility

In 2014, the management of the ARSF was transferred to the British Antarctic Surveyexternal link. The ARSF has now been renamed the NERC Airborne Research Facility (NERC ARF), but retains its worldwide remit and suite of airborne remote sensing instrumentation.

ARSF's Dornier 228

The Dornier 228 aircraft operated by the NERC ARSF.

Airborne remote sensing provides an efficient method for the rapid collection of data over a specified area; consequently it is a cost effective means of monitoring the terrestrial, freshwater, marine and atmospheric environments, provides a transitionary scale with which to validate satellite data and enables the rapid acquisition of data for sudden or unexpected events, such as floods and earthquakes. Since 1983 the facility has supported a wide range of applications, including environmental science, geomorphology, archaeology, ecology, geologic surveying, pollution control and disaster management.

The ARSF operations team collect data from a Dornier 228 research aircraft (G-ENVR) based at Gloucester Airport. Data are processed by our data analysis team at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory and are archived at the National Earth Observation Data Centre (NEODC). Currently the ARSF provides radiometrically corrected hyperspectral data from the AISA Fenix and Owl instruments; ground height information from the Leica ALS50-II; and digital photography. Additionally our atmospheric instrument capability complements that offered by the NERC Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurementsexternal link.

During our normal course of operations we support projects across the UK and the North coast of continental Europe, though the facility has supported campaigns with locations as distant as Svalbard, Ethiopia, Chile and Australia. This service is available free of charge to the UK research community (subject to peer review) and the facility is a member of the European Fleet for Airborne Researchexternal link (EUFAR).

For examples of the NERC ARSF's research aircraft operations, see below:

A copy of the NERC ARSF flier (2·6MB PDF) is available for download.

You can download the 2012-13 Annual Report as a PDF (726KB).

Six sample images of the ARSF aircraft and its instruments are available below, for use in presentations.

G-ENVR in flight G-ENVR from below G-ENVR flying Instrument rack 1 Instrument rack 2 On campaign (with FAAM)

ARSF Science

Remote sensing
Remote sensing

Atmospheric research
Atmospheric research

Overseas campaigns
Overseas campaigns

Latest news

In 2014, the management of the ARSF was transferred to the British Antarctic Survey.

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