Skip to Main Content

Apply Now to the University of Wyoming apply now
King Air airplane in background with King Air Research Aircraft: Atmospheric Science

Next Gen King Air

Top of new airplaneTop of new airplane

NEXT GEN KING AIR


In October 2019, the University of Wyoming was awarded a grant from NSF through the Mid-Scale Research Infrastructure Program to develop the next-generation King Air to replace the current UWKA and serve the NSF Lower Atmospheric Observing Facilities (LAOF) program and NSF-funded investigators for the next several decades. The 5-year effort will result in a more capable airborne laboratory while occupying the same niche in the NSF LAOF pool as the current aircraft. The next-generation King Air (referred to here as UWKA-2) will include additional ports with a larger payload, greater power capacity, longer endurance, improved investigator access and unprecedented suite of current and new instruments. It will be the platform of choice for a broad range of investigations, both small and large campaigns, for education-focused and research-focused campaigns, serving new and seasoned PIs, covering the spectrum of atmospheric and related sciences.

 

TOP VIEW of airplanebottom view of airplane  

 

Top View and Bottom View Schematic Research Modifications for UWKA-2


Research Capabilities

UWKA-2 will be built upon a modern Beechcraft King Air 350i (B300) and will include more than 50 modifications specifically designed for accommodating existing and new research instrumentation, including radars and lidars, and cloud physics, air chemistry, and aerosol in situ probes. Enhanced air-to-ground communication capabilities will provide the infrastructure and connectivity necessary to allow for new initiatives that will engage investigators and train undergraduate and graduate students through a real-time immersive experience and instrument and flight control from the ground.


Timeline (updated November 2021)

The baseline aircraft was purchased in mid-2020. Transitioning the aircraft to one capable of conducting atmospheric research with special mission and research modifications and the infrastructure to support airborne instruments will take up to 3 years. The current UWKA will continue to be supported as part of the NSF LAOF through summer 2022, at which time it will be retired. A 12- to 18-month transition period will be required to move, test, and certify the UWKA-2. We anticipate that UWKA-2 will be available for request through the NSF LAOF program in winter 2023. The completion of all upgrades, including new lidar, radar, and communication capabilities will come online through 2023 into mid-late 2024.

 Timeline of next-generation King Air modification process


Next Gen King Air Modifications (click here to read monthly progress updates)

Click on the pictures below to view captions and rotate through the photo gallery.

The next-generation King Air 350 as initially purchased by the university
Avionics upgrades in progress
Engine exhaust stacks

1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
UW Operators (307) 766-1121 | Contact Us | Download Adobe Reader

Accreditation | Virtual Tour | Emergency Preparedness | Employment at UW | Privacy Policy | Harassment & Discrimination | Accessibility Accessibility information icon