Yesterday we had our last StratoClim measurement flight here in Kathmandu. Currently no follow up project with the Geophysica is planned. During the preparation phase on the apron it was raining, matching the mood of seeing the Geophysica taking off for the last measurement flight.

Looking for protection against the rain under the wing of Geophysica, before the last measurement flight.

Problems with the exact coordinates of the planned flight track appeared and communication with the airport tower led to a take-off delay of 1,5h with running instruments. Even though it was not really warm outside, some instruments running so long on the ground had problems with overheating.

Altogether, the campaign was a huge success with 8 measurement flights in the Asian monsoon. After the cancelled test campaign in Kiruna, Sweden due to political issues and the replacement phase 1 campaign in Kalamata, Greece with flooding issues and challenging conditions in the hangar, the well organized and smoothly running campaign here in Kathmandu is a pleasant surprise. A meeting to present measurement results is planned for November in Rome.

Personally, I experienced this campaign as easy going, especially compared to the last campaign in Kalamata. The instrument I am working with operated throughout all 8 measurement flights, without any complications.

As a highlight ending, a Mt. Everest sightseeing flight with Buddha Air happened this morning for everyone from StratoClim, who wanted to join for a fair price. Because we work in their hangar, the organization of the flight with Buddha Air was easy.

Mount Everest, seen from the sightseeing flight this morning. (picture by Corinna Kloss)

Since the StratoClim campaign has now finished, this is the last blog entry from me. However, another atmospheric campaign is starting soon in Shannon, Ireland with the German research aircraft HALO, which you will be informed about in this blog.

On it’s way into the country on Friday, Geophysica was mistaken as a Russian state aircraft by the Swedish Defense Ministry with ‘no obvious motivation’. The flight permissions for the Swedish airspace were withdrawn. Quick note: Geophysica has already been here in Kiruna for campaigns several times and did more than 30 research flights since 2003. The purpose of the campaign and the flight has been communicated to the authorities again. Still, the Swedish Defense Ministry insists: Geophysica has to leave the country by tomorrow morning 8 a.m..



Yesterday we integrating our instruments onto Geophysica for the first time. On the picture you see the instrument AMICA that I work on, carried by a crane to the top of the plane, to test all mountings and connections.

On the picture you see the instrument AMICA that I work on, carried by a crane to the top of the plane, to test all mountings and connections.

This is the M-55 Geophysica, a Russian high altitude research aircraft. It reaches altitudes up to 21 km and has a flight duration of up to 5 hours. It was built as a Russian spy plane in the 1970s and was reconstructed to an atmospheric research aircraft in the 1990s.

The M-55 Geophysica

The M-55 Geophysica on its way into the Arena Arctica

It arrived yesterday shortly after us and is now sitting in the huge Arena Arctica here in Kiruna.
The plan is to have two test flights during the next two weeks. The first one Thursday 21st of April and the second on Monday 25th. Until then we still need to test the integration onto the aircraft, do lab tests with the instruments and some other preparations.

The Arena Arctica from the top of Geophysica

The Arena Arctica: View from the top of the aircraft

Now that POLSTRACC found a successful ending it is time for some of us at IEK-7 to pack our bags and instruments (again) to start the next campaign. Marc and I (Corinna) will take over and try our best to keep you updated and informed about the coming events concerning the new project StratoClim.

For those of you, who followed Isabell’s blog entries:

What stays the same? The first campaign base will also be in Kiruna (Sweden), the project involves again instruments taking measurements on a research aircraft, some faces ..

What is different? Everything else… 😉

StratoClim in a nutshell

StratoClim is an EU-funded project and short for ‘Stratospheric and upper tropospheric processes for better climate predictions’ involving 28 partners from 11 countries with a total cost of about 12 million Euros. It started in December 2013 and has a duration of 52 months. Short: It is big! There are two aircraft campaigns that we are involved in, the test campaign in Kiruna and the main campaign in India, during the Asian monsoon season.

In case you became more curious about StratoClim you are welcome to visit the web-site:


The Test Campaign: Sooo soon!

Why do we need a test campaign? Many instruments in StratoClim are new on the research aircraft Geophysica, so it is important to test and optimize them before taking them to the main campaign in India. This campaign starts on the 15th of April with a duration of two weeks..

To have all of our instruments, tools and necessary lab equipment in Kiruna on time, we already packed a container and shipped it to Kiruna last Friday.


picture by Anne Richter