In August 1942 the UK Met Office established a High Altitude Flight to conduct airborne research which would aid understanding of weather and climactic patterns. Several aircraft types have served in this role over the years, including the infamous C-130K Hercules W.2 known as 'Snoopy' due to its elongated nose. After its retirement in March 2001 a replacement was needed and the Met Office entered a partnership with the Natural Environment Research Council to jointly fund a state of the art atmospheric research aircraft. A BAe 146-301 airframe entered a conversion programme and in 2004 began flying from Cranfield. Known as the FAAM (Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements), it serves as part of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science studying radiative transfers, tropospheric chemistry and turbulence, to name but a few areas of interest.
Photo credit: FAAM