Airborne GeoSciences

The 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 of GeoSciences 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 simultaneuously 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.


View of forest from Dimona cockpit airplane
Airborne GeoSciences supports research across multiple disciplines employing a wide range of sensors on both manned and unmanned aircraft.
Fife GeoSciences Aircraft Hangar
The facility contributes to a number of teaching programs at undergraduate and Masters level, provides equipment and training for field-courses, as well as supporting numerous PhD projects.
Dimona aircraft on the ground in sweden
Light aircraft provide excellent platforms for research and survey operations. We own and operate a Diamond ECO-Dimona aircraft with specialised features to support inter-disciplinary research across GeoSciences and beyond.
A drone flying over rocks next to the sea edge at Skye, Scotland
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.
sensor mounted to pod
We manage and operate a broad and growing inventory of sensors and systems for airborne applications.
view of trees at Griffin forst from abofve
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.
image of test screen with electronic pulses
Alongside our airborne sensor inventory, we manage a suite of reference instruments and environmental test equipment which are available for wider use.
A windsock against blue sky
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.

This article was published on 17 Oct, 2019