A Most Excellent Adventure
Kiruna, Sweden
January-March 2000

(click on pictures to enlarge)

Some of the ER-2 Instruments

Most of the ER-2 instruments are highly specialized, state of the art, one of a kind instruments for either measuring gases or particles at very low concentrations in the stratosphere.  The pictures below are some, but not all, of  those instruments in various states of assembly.  These instruments mount in or on the wing pods, nose and fuselage of the ER-2.  Each morning before a flight the instruments that have been removed, which are most of them, are placed back on the airplane and checked out.  This process takes about two hours.  Picture A  shows the NOAA/CMDL ACATS gas chromatograph and the NOAA/Aeronomy Lab NOy instrument on its lift cart.  Picture B, affectionately known as the football, provide the inlets for both instruments.  The instrument mounts in the fuselage in a place known as the Q-bay which is right behind the pilot.  The football hangs under the fuselage and attaches to the Q-bay hatch.  Picture C is of the forward part of the right wing pod which contains the JPL ALIAS instrument which is a tunable diode laser for measuring CO2, methane, N2O, HCl, and CO.  Picture D shows the Canadian CPFM Uv absorption instrument on the right wing.  Pictures E and F are of the Cal Tech CIMS instrument, which is a quadrapole mass spectrometer set up to measure nitric acid.  The nose cone of the ER-2 separates and can be removed.  Picture G shows some of the aircraft systems and avionics mounted in the nose.  Picture H is of the removable part of the nose without its instruments.  Picture I shows the Harvard HOx and water instruments mounted in the removable part of the nose.  Interestingly, this part of the nose is held on with only three fasteners.  Picture J is of the rear part of the left wing pod.  The left wing pod contains the Harvard Co2 instrument.  It also houses the Denver University FCAS/NMAS particle instruments shown in pictures K and L.  Picture M shows the NCAR MASP particle instrument mounted on the outside of the right wing pod.  Picture N is of the aft wall of the lower Q-bay where the ozone instrument is mounted.  Picture O is of the right wing pod showing how the front and rear portions separate.  Finally picture P shows the NCAR Whole Air Sampler which mounts under the fuselage.  A complete description of the instruments and those not mentioned may be found by clicking here.