An airborne platform for research and testing


Andøya Space has its own airplane with pilots and mission specialists for performing flights for scientific research, technology demonstration, maritime surveillance, search and rescue, and other types of missions, for both civilian and military customers.

– Our aircraft is a Diamond DA62 MPP (Multi-Purpose Platform) twin-engine propeller plane. It can accommodate four people on board, two pilots for flying the aircraft and two mission specialists who operate the equipment and instruments used for the research or testing, says Dag Helge Karlsen at Andøya Space.

He is one of the two pilots of Andøya Space’s aircraft and has led the work to get in place the documentation and procedures necessary for offering flights to customers.

A plane designed for research and testing

The Diamond DA62 MPP plane is 9 meters long and has a wing span of 14.5 meters.

– We have a nominal max flight time of up to five hours, depending on factors such as the number of people on board, the type and weight of the equipment, how much fuel is needed and more, Karlsen says.

This particular type of airplane has been designed from the ground up to function as an aviation platform for scientific research and technology testing.

For example, the nose cone can contain camera, radar or other types of sensors. The plane also has room for various kinds of instruments and sensors behind special pods on the outside of the plane.

– Moreover, the plane is cost effective because it requires relatively little fuel compared to other planes of a similar size, Karlsen adds.

Used for in-house missions

Andøya Space purchased the plane in 2021, and until now it has been used mainly for in-house missions.

– For example, before customers of Andøya Space Defence test their missiles, we use the plane to surveil and monitor the test area from the air, to make certain that there are no land vehicles or maritime vessels around, says Karlsen.

For such missions, the on board camera is used, in addition to maps of maritime traffic updated in real time.

– If we discover any vessels in the test range, we identify them so that they can be contacted by radio and notified about the activities that are planned in the area, Karlsen says.

Flies all year round

Andøya Space has a customer for the flight services already, which they will perform missions for several times a year.

– We offer direct services to several different types of customers. According to their needs we can mount a variety of equipment, sensors, antennae, and other instruments on our plane, says Karlsen.

Moreover, Andøya Space offers flights all year round, and can perform campaigns lasting days or weeks as needed.

– We have the greatest number of flights in the spring, summer and autumn, but we also fly during the winter, Karlsen says.

Three pilots in all

Currently, Andøya Space has two pilots working with the plane, and another will be added to the team shortly.

In addition, Andøya Space has four mission specialists that can operate the test instruments during the flights.

– Andøya Space is a specialized operations organization (SPO) that can offer a variety of commercial aviation services, Karlsen finishes.

More information

Please contact Andøya Space Defence for questions regarding our services.