Flight Design CT Supralite Used to Measure Volcanic Ash

Light-Sport Aircraft Employed to Assess Problems for Airliners.


Leinfelden-Echterdingen, GERMANY / 1 June 2010 — As visitors and vendors prepared to depart Sun ‘n Fun in Lakeland, Florida in late April, many Europeans experienced delays or cancellations of their airline flight due to the ash spewing from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland. News of potential problems from airborne ash made headlines around the world. The travel plans for thousands of people had to change at a staggering economic cost. Now, European scientists are studying this event in the effort to reduce problems in the future and one group is using a Light-Sport aircraft to do so.

A specially equipped Flight Design CT Supralite from a Germany company, is being used for measuring flights by the Duesseldorf Technical University’s Department of Volcanology. To allow higher altitude measurements, the CT Supralite was equipped with an oxygen system for the occupants. Supralite is a version of the popular CT series sold in Europe.

In particular, sulfur and particles concentration was 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.

The Flight Design CT Supralite qualifies as a research aircraft by virtue of its strong climbing performance (more than 5 meters per second or 1,000 feet per minute) and its high ceiling for a non-turbine or non-turbocharged aircraft with low risk for damages by the volcano 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,” reported Flight Design CEO, Matthias Betsch, himself one of those delayed getting home from Sun ‘n Fun 2010. “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.”

Flight Design is a 23-year-old air-sport products producer based in Germany. The company remains the worldwide market leader thanks to its well-received CT series of light aircraft. More than 1,500 of these aircraft are flying in 39 countries. One of the first aircraft certified under ASTM International standards in 2005, the CT (“composite technology”) remains the top-selling LSA in America through five consecutive years. Flight Design sold the first LSA to India and was the first LSA to earn Chinese Type Design Approval. A newer model, the MC (metal concept), has generated excitement in the market.

For more information go to www.flightdesign.com.

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