Scientific Aviation operates three fixed-wing, single-engine Mooney aircraft that have been heavily modified for atmospheric research. Air inlets have been installed on the outboard section of the wing, well away from the exhaust and the propeller induced turbulence. Each research flight includes measurements of wind speed and direction, temperature, humidity, and location (latitude, longitude, altitude and time).
The three aircraft are identically configured for scientific payload, but differ in terms of flight capability. Each airplane includes 1200 watts of 110V A/C power and identical measurements of temperature, humidity and horizontal winds.
The California-based airplane (Mooney TLS) can fly as high as 8 km and is certified for flight into known icing conditions. Normal cruise speed varies between 140 kts near sea-level to 200 kts at 8 km. It can remain aloft for more than 5 hours.
The Colorado-based airplane (Mooney Ovation) can fly to an altitude just over 6 km and is more suited for summertime operations, including the comfort of an air conditioning unit. The Ovation can cover significantly more ground thanks to its higher speed and lower fuel burn, and can be expected to remain aloft for more than 7 hours while maintaining sea-level cruise speeds around 160 kts.
Which airplane is right for your project? The answer to that question is usually a combination of which airplane is closest, what altitudes you need to fly to, the flight durations your mission requires, and what weather conditions are expected.
Both aircraft are fully FAA-certified and available for world-wide deployment. Read about our pilots.