Online Survey to evaluate the future needs of the airborne research community
In order to evaluate the capability of the existing fleet in response to the scientific needs, to provide directions for enhancing the capability of the fleet, and to outline strategies for the long-term development of the fleet, a questionnaire was prepared in order to get feedback from the European scientific community. The online survey was launched at the end of November 2014 and remained open until the end of January 2015. A summary of the answers have since been collected and are available online. Click here to access the survey results.
The questionnaire consisted of 36 questions grouped in 7 sections. The first 4 questions are concerned with the type of science the respondent is interested in, and for how long, to define the profile of the respondent and his/her degree of education and experience. The second group of 5 questions tries to define the type of airborne science the respondent is involved in, and the degree of commitment to that. A third group of 4 questions explores the availability of infrastructures of airborne research the respondent has access to, while the fourth group of 5 questions explores the respondent’s awareness of EUFAR initiatives, and the degree of appreciation for them, additionally seeking for users’ needs and future direction of development of the fleet. The last two groups of 11 and 6 questions are devoted to exploring the users’ needs in terms of flight and instrument interface demands. Finally, the respondent was encouraged to leave some final comments on the questionnaire, and on whatever relevant issue worth mentioning.
The invitation to participate in this survey was distributed to all EUFAR subscribed members (about 1900), and to all EUFAR mailing lists. It was also advertised on the EUFAR website, in the EUFAR newsletter December 2014 issue, EUFAR social media networks LinkedIn and Twitter, and circulated internally by EUFAR partners. Moreover, the invitation was sent to Points of Contacts (Directors, outreach offices,…) of selected Earth Science European institutions.
List of questions in the survey
Respondent profile and type of Science
- Please indicate your career level
- In which country do you work?
- Do you consider yourself an experienced user of airborne research facilities?
- Please select the research activities you are involved in, which require airborne activity (multiple choices are allowed).
Airborne Research Activity
- What percentage of your working time is dedicated to airborne research?
- How many proposals involving airborne research have you written and submitted as coordinator to funding agencies in the last 5 years?
- What percentage of your personal research budget is devoted to airborne research activities?
- How many flight hours per year do you approximately use for your airborne research activity?
- Is your airborne research activity connected with industrial, commercial or otherwise production activities?
Availability of research platforms
- Do you have access to national research aircraft in your country?
- Have you ever had access to research aircraft of a country other than that in which you work?
- Are you aware of, or interested in, steerable platforms for airborne research other than aircraft ? (Multiple choices allowed)
- Do you think that, for your research activity, they can be a valid alternative to aircraft?
Awareness of EUFAR initiatives
- EUFAR is an 'Integrating Activity' funded by the European Commission under FP5/FP6 and currently FP7, and works to coordinate the operation of instrumented aircraft and hyperspectral imaging sensors, exploiting the skills of experts in airborne measurements in the fields of environmental and geo-sciences, in order to provide researchers with the infrastructure best suited to their needs. Are you aware of the EUFAR activities?
- Within EUFAR, Transnational Access is offered to provide, to successful applicants, an allocation of flight hours on EUFAR aircraft. It also provides a small amount of Travel and Subsistence funding to enable applicants to participate in the planning and execution of the field campaign. Have you ever submitted a request for Transnational Access to some of the aircraft available through EUFAR?
- What is your opinion of the Transnational Access scheme? (Comments on your choice are allowed but not mandatory)
- In the last EUFAR proposal, priorities for the development of the European airborne research fleet were indicated, based on the lack of accessible platforms at that time. These included the availability of: i. An airplane for stratospheric research; ii. A long endurance and heavy payload aircraft; iii. Promotion of exploitation of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (a. k. a. UAS) for scientific research. Which of these priorities are most important to you?
- Would you be in favour of committing national research funding agencies, in countries both with and without their own research aircraft, to create and support a common European infrastructure for granting European scientists, with appropriate and peer-reviewed selection procedures, flight hours on aircraft that are currently only available through national funding? (Comment on your choice are allowed but not mandatory)
- In which geographical region is your airborne experimental activity mainly carried out? (Multiple choices are allowed, comments on your answer are allowed but not mandatory)
- What is the minimum speed (in m/s) the research aircraft should fly, according to your needs? (Comments on your answer are allowed but not mandatory)
- What is the maximum speed the research aircraft should fly, according to your needs? (Comments on your answer are allowed but not mandatory)
- What is the ceiling altitude (m) the research aircraft should fly, according to your needs? (Comments on your answer are allowed but not mandatory)
- What should be the number of consecutive flight hours required to fulfil your needs? (Comments on your answer are allowed but not mandatory)
- What should be the minimum distance per flight (range, in km) the research aircraft should fly, according to your needs? (Comments on your answer are allowed but not mandatory)
- How far in advance can you schedule your research flight, during a field campaign?
- Do you necessarily need operators/scientists to be on board the aircraft?
- Do you need assistance/guidance from a ground station during research flight operation, to manage your instrument? (Comments on your answer are allowed but not mandatory)
- Do you need real time transmission of your data to a ground station? (Comments on your answer are allowed but not mandatory)
- Do you need aircraft navigation ancillary data (temperature, pressure, headings, geolocations, winds,…), to be provided in real time to you instrument, during the research flight?
Instrument Interface Demands
- Is the airborne instrument/equipment you use in your research activity, provided by the aircraft operator or by yourself as a scientific user? (Comments are allowed but not mandatory)
- What is the approximate total weight (kg) of the airborne instrument/equipment you use in you used in your research activity?
- What is the approximate maximum linear dimension (cm) of the airborne instrument/equipment you use in your scientific research?
- Has the installation of the instrument/equipment required structural modifications of the aircraft?
- How much power (W) does your instrument need?
- Is your instrument certified for flying on more than one aircraft?
If you would like to comment on the questionnaire, or leave a message, you are welcomed to do so.