Today marks the one-year anniversary of IO Aerospace taking possession of our Learjet 35. Over the course of the year, we have transformed the Lear into something special, taken it to the sky, and begun an amazing mission. As we celebrate this remarkable milestone, we want to take a moment to reflect on the journey so far, the challenges we’ve overcome, and the exciting future ahead.
Transformation of the Aircraft
At the start of this project, we had one goal: to take a standard Learjet and convert it into a versatile and powerful aircraft capable of performing specialized missions operations. This vision was about pushing boundaries and redefining what an aircraft could achieve.
Over a period of months, our team of dedicated engineers and aviation experts worked tirelessly to turn that vision into a reality. We reconfigured the Learjet, equipping it with cutting-edge technology, unique prototype sensing equipment, and specialized mission capabilities.
Some of the modifications include:
Camera ports: the addition of mid-fuselage dual camera ports. Located on each side of the aircraft, nearer to the center and in front of the wings, these ports provide a clear line of sight for sensors and cameras. This addition enables our operators to capture high-quality images and data during flights. The modification provided us with the space to be able to install and integrate a wide variety of sensor technologies, including the sensor currently installed in the aircraft.
Tip tank extension: With the extension of the aircrafts tip tanks, we are able to extend the duration of missions. More time in the air means more time on station, and ultimately more data collected.
Delta fins: we added delta fins for increased stability while working at 40,000 ft. Located at the back of the aircraft on the tail, the delta fins, or strakes, help in reducing drag while increasing stability.
After these extensive modifications, our Special Missions Jet was fully equipped to take on new missions. We are thrilled to say that as of September 2023, our Learjet has flown over 150,000 kilometers of special mission activity. This achievement underscores the success of our project and the outstanding capabilities of our transformed aircraft.
Impacting Change Through Special Missions
One year into this remarkable journey, our Special Missions platform has already made a significant impact.
MethaneSAT has deployed groundbreaking methane measurement technology aboard our specially equipped jet aircraft to measure and track methane from oil and gas operations and other sectors across North America. Operating from local airports, the MethaneAIR mission has been mapping and quantifying emissions from oil and gas basins encompassing roughly 80% of U.S. onshore production.
Looking forward, we plan to continue making significant contributions to technology and space exploration. Our team is ready to conduct testing for emerging pre-space technologies and satellites in development, providing early data streams crucial for innovation. With the ability to effortlessly cover vast areas, our platform has the potential to collect substantial geospatial data, and provide a unique testbed for emerging sensor systems.