This page contains information for first time flyers on board the BAe146 Atmospheric Research Aircraft. Supervisors/managers should direct first time flyers here, and ensure they are familiar with the contents.


  • You should have applied for, and been issued with, a Direct Flight pass. If you are to fly from Cranfield over a period of time you may also be issued with a Cranfield Airport pass as part of your application. One of these will allow you to walk from the security gate to/from the aircraft unescorted (after an appropriate ramp/pan briefing by Directflight Operations staff.)
  • If you haven't yet begun this process, please read the details in the How To Apply section.
  • Carry your passport with you. Even if it's a home-based flight, you may need this should the aircraft be diverted for any reason.


  • For health & safety reasons, please ensure you wear sensible attire: no open toe shoes, sensible heels, no trousers/skirts above the knee. Long sleeves and full length trousers are preferred.
  • The temperature on the aircraft is variable due to the different altitudes flown - bring a coat.

People you should be familiar with

  • CCM (Cabin Crew Member): Responsible for your safety & comfort on-board, during both standard operation and in an emergency. Your main point of contact in case of concern or illness.
  • FTP (FAAM Trained Person): Assists the CCM when/if required during emergency.
  • Operations Manager: Organises flight schedules, timings, crew lists. Communicates times & crew details in advance of the flight (doesn't usually fly).
  • Flight manager: Documents the flight, a good central point of contact regarding science during flight. Co-ordinates & leads the pre and post flight briefs.
  • Mission Scientist: Person in charge of the science. Usually sits up the front in the cockpit and directs the aircraft to the areas of interest based on the data at hand.


  • Information regarding times & crew are available on the FAAM website calendar, in the Flying Programme section. This should be checked frequently for updates. Changes are also sent via the email distribution lists for each project.
  • Aircraft access on the ramp/pan: To walk between the security gate and aircraft unescorted you must hold a Cranfield AIrport (red outline) pass, have been given a ramp brief by Directflight Operations staff and be wearing a high-vis jacket. If you do not hold a Cranfield Airport pass you can be escorted by someone who does AFTER you have had the ramp brief and been loaned a high-vis jacket.
  • Pre-flight: Usually from 4 hours before take-off. Aircraft & science power available for any pre-flight work, instrument set-up etc. If you need science power for any longer than the standard 4 hours, speak with the Ops Manager asap.
  • Pre-flight brief: Usually 2 hours before take-off, to discuss science goals, the flight plan and any special instrument requirements.
  • Security: Usually 45 minutes before take-off. All tools and non-flying equipment & people should be removed from the aircraft. You must disembark the aircraft until the CCM confirms you may re-enter.
  • Safety brief: Usually straight after security & takes place at the back of the aircraft. The CCM should be aware that you are a first time flyer and will go through the procedures separately with you.
  • Post-flight brief: Usually 30 minutes following landing & power off, to discuss the success of the flight.


  • You must wear a yellow high viz jacket at all times when on the pan.
  • If you are uncertain about performing any task, seek assistance before starting the task. Better to be safe than sorry!
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times. If you see anything or any one of concern, question it and report it to the CCM, FTP or any individual wearing a flight suit. There is no such thing as a stupid question when it comes to safety on board!
  • When the seatbelt sign is illuminated you must sit down immediately. This is for your own safety. The seat-belt sign will always be illuminated when at 5000ft and below, and when Dropsondes are launched. This can sometimes be for a long time - so keep an eye on the flight plan and plan your drink/toilet breaks sensibly!

Carry-on Laptop requirements

  • You may bring a laptop with you to use on the aircraft. This is particularly recommended if you are on an experience flight so you can monitor the flight and view real-time data as it is collected. If you will be sat at an instrument rack - check with your supervisor/manager that there is room to have a laptop at your station.
  • The aircraft does not have WiFi.
  • DELL Laptop power adapter is available via a standard UK mains 3-pin plug. Remember to bring an adaptor if your power lead does not come with this.
  • Ethernet cables are generally available to users but please remember to return them at the end.
  • Please be very careful when consuming food & drinks with close proximity to any laptops or electronics. Please report any accidental spillage to member of FAAM staff.
  • Further useful information can be found here. pdf FAAM Aircraft IT Information v2 5 (183 KB)

Head sets

  • You will need to use a head-set to communicate on board. Headsets are available on the aircraft (in silver Zarges boxes on the AVAPS rack at the rear, or on the WAS/Gas rack near the centre, of the aircraft) and require signing in and out each time you borrow one. The head sets are very expensive - please take care of them! If they are damaged in any way, please let the flight manager know so we can arrange repair.
  • As a first time flyer, the CCM will give you training on how to use the head sets.
  • There are 2 main channels: Mission and Training. Mission is used for science talk, mainly with the Mission Scientist, and can be heard by everyone on board including the pilots. If you hear the words "stand by" cease talking until you are told to continue. The Training channel can be used for more general discussions and cannot be heard by the pilots or Mission Scientist.
  • If your headset runs out of batteries at any point, ask the flight manager who will have a supply of new ones.

Air sickness

  • It happens to the best of us - even the frequent flyers! If at any stage during the flight you feel unwell, speak with the CCM or the FTP. They will discreetly look after you, and make sure you are as comfortable as possible.
  • Sick bags can be found in the side pocket under the windows at each seat.
  • If you think you might be prone to air-sickness (it can get quite bumpy at low level or in cloud!) ask the flight manager for an anti-sickness tablet before the flight.


  • On most flights, catering is provided. This normally consists of a sandwich, bag of crisps & a drink. If you have any special dietary requirements, please try and let the DFL Ops Co-ordinator know the day before the flight (Tel 01234 754870).
  • Tea/coffee & water are provided throughout the flight. Please be careful with your drinks - especially when it's bumpy. If you spill anything on any of the equipment please tell the CCM &/or Flight Manager asap.
  • Feel free to bring any other snacks you want. When it comes to cakes - enough to share amongst everyone usually goes down well.


Above all remember that we operate in a relaxed yet controlled environment. If you have any concerns or questions before, during or after the flight, feel free to approach any of the FAAM staff (in the blue flight suits). Don't forget to bring your camera and enjoy your first flight!

FAAM is established as a facility for the UK atmospheric science community; in particular scientists employed by the Met Office, or working in universities funded by the Natural Environment Research Council.
FAAM also has potential to carry out work for other UK government bodies (such as the Cabinet Office, or EPSRC funded researchers) or remunerated work which is compatible with the facilities availability to UK science.  This sort of work might, for example, include investigations of aircraft environmental impact, testing of new aircraft systems, or work for overseas research bodies.
This section of the website provides details of application processes, and also of working practices for those with whom FAAM is working.  Further information can be obtained by contacting the relevant member of FAAM's staff directly.
The flying calendar is shown in the Flying Programme section. Engineering work, including instrument installations, is also shown.

Pass requirement for FAAM


To fly on the ARA aircraft…

… you require a Directflight Flight pass. Please note ALL persons wishing to fly require a DFL Pass. The application form and details of other requirements can be found here


If you are an infrequent ground or aircraft visitor to FAAM at Cranfield…

… and you expect to come and go to our offices in Building 146 multiple times during your visit we have a number of generic entrance swipe cards for access to the FAAM offices.

If you also require access the science labs (Building 85), and via them to Hanger 1 where the aircraft is located a different swipe card is required.

Both of these will be issued to visitors by FAAM staff in exchange for a university ID or driving licence (a single ID can be linked to both types of pass).

As an infrequent visitor you do not require an airside pass for flying days, just to be escorted by someone who has one.

If you are a frequent flying visitor to FAAM at Cranfield…

… we suggest you apply for a Cranfield Airside pass as well as your Directflight Flight pass.

This will be your dedicated Cranfield Airport Airside access ID which will grant you access, via the electronic security gate, to the ramp apron 2 area where the aircraft will be parked on flight days. The ID will also allow you to escort work colleagues or visitors through the security gate to the aircraft where appropriate.

Notice of your visit to work on the aircraft in the hangar

All visitors requiring access to the aircraft when in the hanger on non-flight days are also required to fill in the access request (information here and web form to give Avalon Engineering advanced notice of your visit so they can coordinate any maintenance requirements.


Hangar Health and Safety
Currently there is a Health and Safety committee for the hangar, representatives are Jo Bampton, Alan Eltham, Jamie Trembath, Avalon representative and fire brigade representative.

All visitors must have had the FAAM induction presentation to allow them to work safely in our labs, the hangar and the aircraft. FAAM are responsible for their Laboratories and ensuring that they are a safe place to work. Hangar health and safety issues, including security, are primarily the responsibility of the airport, under consultation with the Hangar H&S committee, which meets 6-monthly.