Last change of this page: 11 Nov 2016  

How HALO is organised

The research infrastructure HALO (High Altitude and Long Range Research Aircraft) is a research aircraft for scientific research on the Earth's atmosphere as well as for Earth observation and geophysical research. HALO goes back to an initiative of German scientists working on Atmospheric Science and Earth Observation. The purchase of HALO and its initial development into a scientitic platform was funded jointly by the German Ministry of Science and Education, the Helmholtz Association (HGF) and the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft.

The scientific use of HALO, both strategically and operationally, is governed by the HALO consortium, currently consisting of six German research centers and the DFG representing the German universities. The stand-by costs of HALO are completely funded by the consortium members, in different shares. Costs for flying scientific missions with HALO are usually covered by the actual partners participating in the missions. Partnership will vary from mission to mission.

DLR is the owner of HALO and responsible for the operation of HALO.

Regulations for the collaboration between the consortium members and the scientific use of HALO are stated in a contract signed by all members, the "Konsortialrahmenvertrag über die wissenschaftliche Zusammenarbeit in Projekten mit dem Forschungsflugzeug HALO". The current contract was signed in December 2015 and is valid from January 1, 2016.

The following sections intend to give a brief overview on the main entities taking part in the governance of HALO and their present members.

HALO consortium.. Governing structure.. Kuratorium.. WLA.. Coordinators.. FX.. Project management..


HALO consortium

The HALO consortium funds the standby costs of HALO. The HALO consortium partners (including DLR) are the scientific users of the aircraft. The consortium partners have a privileged claim to the use of the aircraft.

Present members of the HALO consortium are:

    Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft e.V. (DFG)
    Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR)
    Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e.V. (MPG)
    Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH (FZJ)
    Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)
    Leibniz Institut für Troposphärenforschung e.V. Leipzig (TROPOS)
    Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam Deutsches Geoforschungszentrum


Governing structure

A scheme of the HALO governing structure is shown below (in German). The Kuratorium (supervisory board) is the highest body with members from every partner in the HALO consortium. The Kuratorium appoints the members of the Finanzausschuss (finance committee). The WLA (Wissenschaftlicher Lenkungsausschuss, scientific steering committee) coordinates the joint research activities of the consortium partners and decides about the scheduling of HALO. DLR is the operator (Betreiber) of HALO. Coordination between the operator, the WLA and the scientific user groups is supported by two coordinators: the operator coordinator (Betreiberkoordinator) and the user coordinator (Nutzerkoordinator). The actual scientific missions using HALO will consist of varying partners inside or outside of the consortium. For each mission a mission principal investigator (mission-PI) is the responsible person representing the mission and its partners, in particular against the HALO operator and the WLA. This mission-PI will be fixed in the mission contract for each mission which all mission partners have to sign.

Schematic governing structure for HALO


More details on the roles of the individual bodies within the HALO world and the names of the current members of theses bodies can be found further below.



The supervisory board (Kuratorium) is the highest committee for coordinating the interests of the HALO consortium partners. It monitors the contractual obligations of the consortium partners and decides about any changes in contractual aspects, financial budget and general strategy. It appoints the members of the Scientific Steering Committee (Wissenschaftlicher Lenkungsauschuss, WLA). Furthermore, it appoints the members of a finance committee, which reports to the supervisory board. The supervisory boards meets regularly once per year.

Further Kuratorium related information can be found here:


Wissenschaftlicher Lenkungsauschuss (WLA)

The Scientific Steering Committee (Wissenschaftlicher Lenkungsauschuss, WLA) is appointed by the Kuratorium. It coordinates the joint research activities of the consortium partners in the fields of atmospheric research, Earth observation and geophysics and is responsible for optimizing the scientific utilisation of HALO. The WLA evaluates and prioritises proposals for scientific missions on HALO. It decides about the yearly utilisation schedule of HALO. The WLA meets at least two times per year or more frequently.

Further WLA related information can be found here:


Operator and user coordinators

Two coordinators act as important interfaces between the HALO operator, the HALO scientific users and the HALO scientific steering comittee (WLA):

Operator coordinator
Katrin Witte
(Group leader of FX project management team)
DLR Oberpfaffenhofen
Flugexperimente (FX)
contact details..
User coordinator
Jörg Schmidt Univ. Leipzig
contact details..


Aircraft Operator - DLR Flight Experiments (FX) facility

Operator of HALO is the DLR Flight Experiments (FX) facility. FX operates the DLR aircraft fleet, the largest civil research aircraft fleet in Europe.

HALO is also an informal member of the EUFAR (European facility for airborne research) fleet, a network bringing together operators and users of European research aircraft. However, HALO is not open to the EUFAR2 Transnational Access scheme.

Further FX related information can be found here:


HALO Project Management at DLR-FX

The Project Management team forms a small part within DLR-FX, but it his fairly visible to the scientific users because it acts as the main interface between FX and the scientific user communities for DLR's research aircraft, as illustrated in the following scheme.

Scheme of communication pathways with the HALO project management team as the main interface


Usually one project manager is assigned to all stages of a HALO mission (or certification project), from a first feasibility study to the implementation of actual campaign. Currently there are three project managers working for HALO:

  • Katrin Witte (FX Project Management group lead and HALO operator coordinator)
  • Martina Hierle
  • Andreas Minikin

Full contact details for the project management team can be found under contacts.

Any questions regarding HALO in general, certification projects and scientific missions with HALO should be directed first to the HALO project management. The project management will relay questions and information to the respective experts within FX.



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