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Wed, Jun 02, 2010

Flight Design CT Supralite Used To Measure Volcanic Ash

Light-Sport Aircraft Employed To Assess Problems for Airliners

European scientists are studying the eruption and ash plume from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland with a tool that you might not expect ... a specially equipped Flight Design CT Supralite. Dusseldorf Technical University's Department of Volcanology is using the CT for flights to measure volcanic ash and other volcanic output. During the flights, sulfur and particle concentrations were measured in steps of 1,000 feet up to 14,000 feet. The objective was to quantify or correlate the calculated location and density of the ash cloud with reality.

To allow for those higher altitude measurements, the CT Supralite was equipped with an oxygen system for the occupants. Supralite is a version of the CT series sold in Europe.

The university says the CT Supralite was selected as a research aircraft because of its strong climb performance of more than 1,000 feet per minute, and its high ceiling for a non-turbine or non-turbocharged-powered aircraft which has a low risk for damages from the volcanic ash. Supralite's high cruise speed, range, and cockpit spaciousness also contribute to its usefulness in this investigation.

"It is interesting to see that a Light-Sport airplane can help in this very public case," said Flight Design CEO, Matthias Betsch, who was one of those delayed in getting home from Lakeland in April due to the eruption. "As the CT series is a perfect survey aircraft, Flight Design believes that more of its aircraft will be used for this kind of purpose."

FMI: www.flightdesignusa.com

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