Dr. Johannes Bussmann, CEO of Lufthansa Technik

Open Skies Aircraft Conversion

It's not our work that defines us.
It's our people.

A plane without secrets

Countries that have signed up to the Open Skies agreement can observe each other's territories from the air. After 22 years, Germany is once again to start using its own aircraft for this purpose – and we are the general contractor for this aircraft conversion. Our project manager Andreas Britz plays a crucial role in this complex task. The aircraft's mission is to observe other countries, and Andreas is observing hundreds of different tasks and issues to make this mission possible. Watch the video to find out how he pushes this demanding project forward.

Watch the video on the modification of the Open Skies aircraft. Video shot with the kind support of the Planetarium Hamburg.

Cutting holes into the lower skin of a perfectly good aircraft fuselage is a rather unusual job for a MRO company. But the four openings with a diameter of up to 44 centimeters are at the heart of this special Airbus A319's modification – they will help ensure the necessary clear view for the on-board cameras during its future missions.

The two cameras are situated in the rear cargo area to take pictures at altitudes of 1,500 and 3,500 meters. To ensure that they have a perfect view through the circular windows, four-centimeter- thick single-pane glass has been installed instead of safety glass. This modification to the aircraft's structure required complex structural and flow calculations.

“Nothing on this aircraft is secret. All technologies must be accessible at any time and without a lot of work so that the countries involved can check all the systems and recordings.”

Andreas Britz, Project Manager "Open Skies"

However, the most important elements of the conversion are not immediately apparent. A thorough overhaul ensured that the A319 will have no major maintenance events in the first two years after handover. The aircraft is being upgraded to the latest technology and around 100 Service Bulletins (SBs) are being implemented. In the cockpit, avionics engineers are installing new displays, an electronic flight bag and a new flight management system. Several antennas are installed to meet the particularly high navigation requirements and enable both military and civil communications (air traffic control). A sophisticated, one-of-a-kind on-board communication system developed in-house enables programming of various communication circuits to allow mission members to communicate among each other and with the cockpit.

Your personal contact

Wieland Timm, Head of Sales VIP & Special Mission Aircraft

Wieland Timm

Head of Sales VIP & Special Mission Aircraft

Lufthansa Technik AG

Hamburg, Germany