Advanced Technology Research Aircraft

The Airbus A320-232, with the designation D-ATRA, is the largest member of the DLR research aircraft fleet. It has been used by DLR since 2008 and is  at notable for its size and versatility. The DLR ATRA is used in numerous ways –  from basic research, to research and development projects together with the European aviation industry. Among other things, scientists use the A320 to investigate new cabin comfort and safety concepts. They are also testing new communication technologies for future aviation – both in flight and on the ground. ATRA is unique in Europe as a modern platform for research into aerodynamics, avionics and engines. DLR’s A320 ATRA is used for numerous activities, including the testing of aeroelastic measurement methods, investigations into interior acoustics, flow noise measurements, aerodynamic wing and tail plane measurements aimed at saving fuel, testing of the latest measuring techniques, such as the image pattern correlation technique (IPCT, an optical method for measuring the bending of wings), detection of wake turbulence and examination of alternative algorithms, engine measurements, testing state-of-the-art communications and navigation technologies, as well as low-noise approach and take-off procedures.

In future, the ATRA will have several cockpit interfaces at its disposal. This includes the implementation of an experimental cockpit display system, additional data links and a head-up display. This opens up the possibility of investigating the following research topics: flight control commands for flying through wake turbulence and load reduction, autonomous flight, ground traffc control, pilot assistance and display technology, and assigning and splitting pilot workloads.

German Aerospace Center (DLR)

Oliver Brieger · E-Mail: oliver.brieger@dlr.de · DLR.de