The Sky Arrow ERAs: ISAFoM small research aircrafts

The direct measurement of wind and turbulence from aerial platforms has been made since several decades, but only recently it has been possible to use small aircrafts, with consequent important perspectives for the atmospheric and biospheric research.

In such context, ISAFoM bought and instrumented two SKY Arrow 650 TCNS ERA - constituting one of ` the Large Scale Infratructures' of CNR - equipped with BAT probes (Best Atmospheric Turbulence), developed by NOAA-ATDD (USA) and ARA (Australia), integrated in the MFP system.

The aircrafts are based at Pontecagnano Airport (Salerno) - an ideal positioning for the presence of all airport services; the lack, to the present, of civil traffic; the vicinity of zones of particular environmental interest; the optimal street and railway connections - but are susceptible of street transport by towing of a motor vehicle or shipment in a container.

ERAs are JAR/VLA certified, feature a two-seat tandem and a pusher propeller configuration, have a maximum takeoff weight of 650 Kg and a payload of 251, can land and take off in little more than 200 meters. They are equipped with aforesaid MFP system for the measurement of the wind vector and the attitude correction at 50 Hz; a LiCor 7500 IRGA for CO2 and H20; sensors for the measurement of radiances, temperature of surface and the air, polluting and trace gases concentration; remote sensing (Duncantech 4100 CIR and RGB, FLIR M40, iperspectral cameras in the visible range and thermal IR). The system is flexible and can receive new sensors.

The users are represented by the European scientific community, since the infrastructure is part of EUFAR (, the consortium for the transnational access to the European fleet of research airplanes. All European investigators can submit proposals and use ERAs for the measurements. The availability of a further ERA by IBIMET CNR, allows for parallel missions of 3 identical instrumented airplanes, a unique feature.

ERA can be used for research pertinent to the following disciplines: geology, geophysicist, geochemistry, volcanology, hydrogeology, soil science, pollution, meteorology, oceanography, vegetation, agriculture, forests, ecology, quality of the air, urban planning, archaeology, sensors calibration and development.

ERA are natively equipped for the measurement of surface exchange (CO2 and H2O and other gases; sensitive and latent heat, momentum) between biosphere and atmosphere on the basis of measurements carried out in the planetary boundary layer; productivity of the agricultural systems; water status and consumption and sanitary state of agricultural and forest vegetation; inputs and supports of validation to models of simulation of atmospheric dynamics and land ecosystems; aerial monitoring of the anthropic emissions.
Applications are possible for volcanic areas; surveillance of water bodies; fires; soil pollution (f.i. illicit rubbish dumps); conservation of energy; heat and gas spills; use of land; aerial photogrammetry; monitoring of city pollution.

ISAFoM signed an agreement with ARPAC, aimed at using the airplanes in the program 'ArIA' for the monitoring Campania environment and landscape.

Other aircraft platforms suitable for research (such as the G97 Spotter, entirely designed by the University Federico II of Naples) are presently under test, featuring lower hourly costs than the Sky Arrow.

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