First BAe 146 heads for atmospheric research future

After twenty years of test flying, the number one BAe 146, serial number E3001, has found a new role in life as an atmospheric research aircraft. BAE Systems won the contract to supply an instrumented aircraft to the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST). UMIST will use it in partnership with the UK’s Meteorological Office and Natural Environment Research Council, replacing a Lockheed C-130 currently operated by the Meteorological Research Flight (MRF). Like the C-130, E3001 will be equipped with a comprehensive suite of equipment allowing researchers to make a wide variety of atmospheric observations. The modifications are expected to cost about UKP16.5 million, and to be completed in late 2002. E3001 will be based at Woodford, where BAE Systems will maintain and operate her on behalf of UMIST and its partners. E3001 was originally built in 1981, as the first BAe 146, serial number E1001. She was rolled out on 20 May and made her first flight on 3 September. In 1987, she was converted to serve as the series 300 development aircraft, E3001, making her first flight in her new guise on 1 May. This new mission is expected to keep her busy for another ten years.

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