On the website of Kenn Borek Air (an airline specializing in Arctic / Antarctic operations), on this page at the bottom, you can see the following picture: part of aircraft It looks like a long thick pole sticking out of the aircraft (likely from the back?)

What is it?


1 Answer 1


That is called a Survey Tail Boom and includes sensitive instruments that need to be mounted away from the aircraft body for clean measurements.

You can see the name of the manufacturer LCAS printed on the boom. In this case, it seems to be a tail boom for magnetic field measurements installed on a Douglas DC-3, which is used for Survey according to Borek Air's fleet information. The LCAS website has a detailed description of the tail boom:

LCAS’ fully certified (Supplemental Type Certificate) tail-mounted transition and boom assemblies carry the magnetometer sensor and requisite electronics. The aft part of the boom system contains the provisions for the magnetometer sensor, the mid section houses the amplifier and flux gate and the transition assembly can house optional electronics such as pressure/temp sensors. The transitions or forward boom assemblies can also be modified for installation of optional video cameras. The orientation of the sensor is adjustable, to provide optimum coupling with the earth’s magnetic field. This innovation eliminates the traditional towed bird system and offers significant advantages in data quality, pilot work load reductions, survey flight efficiencies, and safety in all types of terrain.

The mod kit includes all the necessary doublers, support assemblies and attaching hardware, as well as new ‘end cap’ with Nav. light provisions, this allowing the aircraft to be flown without the tail boom and the OEM tail cone assembly to remain un-altered.

DC-3 with tail boom


  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Also awesome for detecting submarines. $\endgroup$ Nov 26, 2020 at 23:08
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Are they using a DC-3 because taildraggers don't rotate on liftoff? How about landing with that thing? $\endgroup$
    – dotancohen
    Nov 27, 2020 at 0:35
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @dotancohen The company also sells this survey boom for other aircraft with tricycle landing gear, but it looks like the boom is angled upwards on those aircraft. See e.g. the pictures on this page of the DHC-6 modification. $\endgroup$
    – Bianfable
    Nov 27, 2020 at 8:36

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