Lufthansa Technik, leading provider of technical services for commercial, VIP and Special Mission Aircraft, is currently working on two unique “Space” aircraft in its VIP maintenance facilities in Hamburg / Germany.
Since July, SOFIA, a modified Boeing 747SP that is operated jointly by the USA’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) as a “Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy”, is undergoing a major overhaul at Lufthansa Technik in Hamburg. The DLR and NASA have selected Lufthansa Technik to perform a major overhaul of the aircraft on account of its claim to have the widest and longest experience at maintaining this aircraft type.
Since September, Lufthansa Technik is also converting a former Airbus A310 of the German Air Force for Novespace, subsidiary of the French National Space Center (CNES), from a VIP configuration into a so-called Zero Gravity in-flight test and research platform for parabolic flights. In parallel, Lufthansa Technik is also executing heavy maintenance services on this aircraft, which utilization is shared between DLR, CNES and the European Space agency (ESA).
“Beside our classic VIP completion and maintenance business for private and head-of-state customers our technical services for Special Mission Aircraft have become a very successful business over the past years”, said Wieland Timm, Executive Director Sales VIP & Special Mission Aircraft. “Due to our comprehensive experience with a large variety of commercial aircraft, more and more customers trust in us. The challenge is that despite these special aircraft are based on commercial platforms none of them allows you just doing routine procedures. Very often they are older platforms which you rarely find in the commercial aviation, yet, equipped with the most modern technical equipment for their specific purposes.”
The operation portfolio of Special Mission Aircraft lasts from troop and cargo transport, tanker and medical evacuation to special scientific operations like SOFIA or ZeroG.
Starting more than 50 years ago with the support of the VIP aircraft of the German Air Force, Lufthansa Technik is currently providing technical services for more than 20 Special Mission Aircraft from several Air Forces and scientific organizations. The service portfolio includes maintenance, repair and overhaul services for aircraft, engines and components, maintenance management, logistic and support of technical documentation.
Source: Lufthansa Technik.