School of GeoSciences

Airborne GeoSciences Facility

Our Airborne GeoSciences Facility operates a fleet of manned and unmanned aircraft equipped with state of the art sensors to support research and teaching across the School and beyond.

Airborne research and survey techniques are enjoying major growth in activity and interest.

Over recent years unmanned aircraft have opened up the field to a vastly wider audience, creating entirely new types of data product and simultaneously driving the cost, size and weight of sensors and systems down. This in turn is generating exciting new opportunities for high-quality data acquisition from small, low cost manned aircraft.

We are able to support our researchers and students with direct flight operations, equipment loan, training and specialist platform development and sensor integration. 

Contact the Airborne GeoSciences Facility

We are always delighted to discuss future projects and opportunities. Please feel free to contact us with any queries or comments.


The Airborne GeoSciences Facility supports research across multiple disciplines, employing a wide range of sensors on both manned and unmanned aircraft.


Our facility contributes to several teaching programs at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels and provides equipment and training for field-courses. We also support numerous PhD projects.

Light aircraft (research) operations

Light aircraft provide excellent platforms for research and survey operations.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), or Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), represent an exciting and rapidly developing technology with widespread potential for application in the geosciences.

Airborne sensors

We manage and operate a broad and growing inventory of sensors and systems for airborne applications.

Airborne Data Laboratory

To process the very large volumes of data generated by our airborne operations, we run a suite of purpose-built workstations with appropriate software licences.

Calibration and test facilities

Alongside our airborne sensor inventory, we manage a suite of reference instruments and environmental test equipment which are available for wider use.

Quality and safety management

We employ a quality system and CAA/EASA compliant Safety Management System (SMS) to govern facility activities. Specific 'Operations Manuals' are used for detailed operational control of the more regulated areas of work.

Small Research Facility (SRF)

Our Airborne GeoSciences Facility is operated as a Small Research Facility (SRF).

A Small Research Facility (SRF) is a facility or service provided by the School and used for research and teaching.  They are also available for use by the wider community such as external academic or commercial use.  Our SRF's are available for hire or on a consultancy basis.  These charges are recognised by grant funders and can therefore form part of a grant submission.

Explore our Small Research Facilities (SRF)