Aerial Platforms for Research (INTA-PAI)
Core Data
Hosting Legal Entity
Instituto Nacional de Tecnica Aeroespacial
Carretera de Ajalvir km.4, INTA - Torrejón de Ardoz, Torrejón de Ardoz, PO: 28850, Madrid (Spain)
Type Of RI
Coordinating Country
Current Status:
Operational since 1994
Scientific Description
Mission and objectives
INTA Aerial Platforms for Research facility offers two instrumented aircraft C-212-200 for atmospheric research and remote sensing. Additionally, a motor glider S15 STEMME has also been purchased. The platforms are acknowledged as a national large facility, ICTS – PAI (meaning the Spanish Scientific Technological Singular Facilities – INTA Aerial Platforms) and represent a unique and versatile infrastructure to undertake research projects on the atmosphere and the Earth's surface. This RI is an ICTS (Unique Scientific and Technological Infrastructure), included in the Spanish National Roadmap for RIs.

RI Keywords
Earth's surface., Atmosphere, Remote sensing, Atmospheric research, Instrumented aircraft
RI Category
Research Aircraft
Scientific Domain
Earth and Environmental Sciences
ESFRI Domain
Atmospheric research

INTA airborne infrastructure for environmental research is a complete and flexible test bed facility that allows performing scientific research in the field of geo-science, covering the continental, marine and atmospheric environments. Due to the performances of the aerial platforms currently available, atmospheric research is restricted to the troposphere.

Prototype testing

The aircraft configuration is flexible and prepared to accommodate additional equipment. Instrumented aircrafts can be completed with prototypes provided by the external users. INTA expertise in aeronautic certification facilitates the integration of user’s instrumentation in the airborne facility: mechanical installation, electrical connection, certification paperwork, etc.

Remote sensing

A wide variety of sensors operating in the visible and infrared spectrum are available to get digital imagery from the Earth's features at high spatial resolution.

FSSP-100-ER (Forward Scattering Spectrometer Probe)

PMS model FSSP-100-ER, ia a system designed to operate under all weather conditions. With proper installation and operative de-icers, the system can operate indefinitely in weather research enviroments. The system is a spectrometer probe, whose output is the particle size in binary code accompanied by a strobe pulse that increments to an appropriately addressed memory channel through line driver circuitry.


The CAS was originally developed as an instrument for airborne studies of aerosol and cloud particle properties (Baumgardner et al., 2001). It uses the measurement of light scattered from individual particles to derive the diameter assuming sphericity. Mie scattering theory is applied with the additional assumption of particle refractive index and known wavelength of the incident light-in this case, that of the laser used to illuminate the particles. The scattered light in forward and backward cones of 4 to 12º and 168 to 176º, respectively, is collected by the optical system.

OAP-2DGB-2 (Optical Array Probe)

The Optical Array Probe Grey Scale Model OAP-2D-GB2 is an aircraft mountable probe which acquires information on particles passing through the sample area in a form suitable for digital handling. The output bit stream encodes not only the presence of a particles plus three levels of "grey" information on the form of the particle image.


SIR Model S-5001 is a Non-Pulsed U.V. Fluorescence Sulfur Dioxide Analyzer. In the analyzer, optically filtered pure monochromatic U.V. light from a Zinc lamp is focused onto the SO2 reaction chamber. This beam is of invisible U.V. light and is termed the excitation beam or sometimes the "primary beam". The intensity of the beam is directly viewed by the primary beam intensity measuring detector (control detector).

CAPS (Cloud, Aerosol and Precipitation Spectrometer)

This multipurpose particle spectrometer is five instruments packaged into a single, integrated measurement system that provides aerosol particle and cloud hydrometeor size distributions from 0.5 to 50 µm, particle shape (discrimination between water and ice), particle optical properties (refractive index), precipitation size distributions from 25 µm to 1550 µm, liquid water content from 0.01 to 3 g/m3 and aircraft velocity and atmospheric temperature and pressure. This instrument replaces PMS Inc.'s FSSP-100, FSSP-300, 2D-C, 2D-P and KLWC and can be used in many applications, including weather modification, aircraft icing, hurricane and storm research, and agricultural and industrial spray characterization.

CASA-212-200 S/N270 EC-DUQ

This aircraft is modified to perform remote sensing flight campaigns. A set of Earth observation systems and their auxiliary instrumentation (GPS receptor, GPS/INS modules, communications, data link, power supplies, certified racks, interfaces for scientific equipment, etc), have been integrated on-board. Interface provision has been made to install additional scientific instrumentation: extra electrical power, spare rack space for equipment installation, etc.

Compact Airborne Spectrographic Imager CASI 1500i

Pushbroom type sensor, providing up to 1500 pixels per line recorded in 14 bits. Its Field of Vision is 40º. It supplies up to 288 spectral channels extending in the VNIR spectrum (380-1050 nm) with minimum spectral amplitude of 2.4 nm. Its Instantaneous Field of Vision is 0.49 mrad, which makes it possible to acquire images with resolutions below one metre. An Inertial Measurement Unit has been installed in the detector module, allowing for acquisition of the position and attitude data required for automatic, post-flight geolocalization of the images.

Dew Point Higrometer 137-Vigilant

The EdgeTech Model 137 Vigilant Aircraft Hygrometer is a rugged, shock mounted military qualified instrument used for the primary measurement of dew point in flight or in installations with existing flow, such as wind tunnels.

LWC - King/CSIRO (Cloud Liquid Water Content) / CSIRO KING

Measures of Liquid water content g/m-3.

Airborne Hyperspectral Sensor

"Whiskbroom" type line-scanner sensor with VIS+NIR+TIR hyperspectral capability (80 channels), with a whole radiometric and spectral calibration facility.


This tiny sensor measures liquid water content (LWC) from 0.05 to 3 g/m3 and can be easily mounted on manned or unmanned aircraft, cooling towers, spray rigs and many other applications where the precise measurement of LWC is needed.

Rosemount / PT 50

Temperature measurement. Platinum resistance wire sensor. The calibrated temperature is referred to as "total temperature". It must be corrected for the effects of dynamic heating of air entering the sensor housing and also for the possible effects of anti-icing heating applied to the housing.

OAP-2D2-C (Optical Array Probe)

The 2D2 Particle Size Spectrometer is an updated version of the original 2D probe designed and developed by PMS. It utilizes a photodiode array and photodetection electronics similar to the standard one dimensional PMS Optical Array Probes. However, the system contains high speed front end data storage register which enables each photodetector element to transmit up to 1024 bits of shadow information rather than 1 bit of shadow information from each detector element, for each particle. The particle's transit serves to scan the array and image slices are recorded across the shadow to develop a true two-dimensional shadowgraph image.

CASA-212-200 S/N 301 EC-DTV

This aircraft has been modified to perform research in atmosphere physics and chemistry, as well as instrumentation development. Within the study of the atmosphere, the most significant aircraft modifications would be the installation of PODs under the wings for sensor installation to collect atmospheric data. It also has several sensors on the fuselage, in particular in the upper side of the aircraft and a fiber optic aperture on the bottom floor of the plane.


The SIR Model S-5012 Nitrogen Oxides Analyzer is designed to measure the amount of nitric oxide (NO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and total oxides of nitrogen (NOx) in a continuous, ambient air sample. The instrument reacts quickly to changes in NO, NO2 and NOx concentrations in the sample, while providing a highly stabilized measurement capability for extended periods, without repeated adjustments.

General Purpose Flight Test Instrumentation

The Telemetry and Instrumentation Laboratory has a complete set of sensors and data acquisition system to work in different aerial platforms giving as an output the status of the main system in the vehicle.

CAPS - CIP (Cloud Imagen Probe)

This optical spectrometer measures the size and shape of particles from 25 µm to 1550 µm, liquid water content from 0.01 to 3 g/m3 and airspeed to 200 m/sec. Included in this instrument package are temperature, pressure and relative humidity sensors. The CIP offers comprehensive data on larger particles.

GPS / GPS receiver

Measures of Aircraft position, velocity, heading, pitch, roll. Measures distance from at least 4 satellites to calculate aircraft position. Can then be used to calculate aircraft velocities.


This aircraft is modified to perform Radar SAR development or atmospheric research.


The SIR Model S-5006 is a Non-Dispersive Infrared (NDIR) Analyzer for the measurement of Carbon Monoxide concentrations in ambient air. Being a photometric device, it operates on the principle that the pollutant CO absorbs light at specific wavelengths and will decrease the intensity of a probing light beam in non-linear proportion to its concentration.

PCASP-100X (Passive Cavity Aerosol spectrometer)

This airborne optical spectrometer measures aerosol particles in the 0.1 to 3 µm range. This instrument is currently in use on research aircraft in more than 20 countries for applications in weather modification, air quality studies and biomass burning research.

LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging)