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Aerosonde Flying Through Ophelia

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posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 07:32 PM
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An aircraft, known as an Aerosonde, provided the first-ever detailed observations of the near-surface, high wind hurricane environment when it flew through Tropical Storm Ophelia as the first unmanned aircraft to do so. Unmanned aircrafts are the only way to be able to do such flights. It was a 10-hour mission and marked a new milestone in hurricane observations.


NOAA: NOAA AND PARTNERS CONDUCT FIRST SUCCESSFUL UNMANNED AIRCRAFT HURRICANE OBSERVATION BY FLYING THROUGH OPHELIA

Sept. 16, 2005




Hurricane researchers at the NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory in Miami, Fla., marked a new milestone in hurricane observation as the first unmanned aircraft touched down after a 10-hour mission into Tropical Storm Ophelia, which lost its hurricane strength Thursday night. The aircraft, known as an Aerosonde, provided the first-ever detailed observations of the near-surface, high wind hurricane environment, an area often too dangerous for NOAA and U.S. Air Force Reserve manned aircraft to observe directly.

(Click image for larger view of the Aerosonde unmanned aerial vehicle being released from its transport vehicle on the runway at the NASA Wallops flight Facility, in Wallops Island, Va., to fly into and take measurements of Tropical Storm Ophelia on Sept. 16, 2005. Click here for high resolution version. Photo courtesy of NASA.)

"It's been a long road to get to this point, but it was well worth the wait," said Joe Cione, NOAA hurricane researcher at AOML and the lead scientist on this project. "If we want to improve future forecasts of hurricane intensity change we will need to get continuous low-level observations near the air-sea interface on a regular basis, but manned flights near the surface of the ocean are risky. Remote unmanned aircraft such as the Aerosonde are the only way. Today we saw what hopefully will become 'routine' in the very near future."


(Click NOAA satellite image for larger view of Tropical Storm Ophelia taken on Sept. 16, 2005, at 9:15 a.m. EDT, as the storm made its way into the Atlantic after battering the southeastern United States as a Category One hurricane. It was downgraded Thursday night. Click here for high resolution version. Please credit “NOAA.”)

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

This is very good news as hurricane observations now can be done much better without risking the lifes of any pilots. To add some crazy conspiratorial speculation into this: Maybe it can be used to control or guide the path of the storm?
Maybe they will try to fly it through a real hurricane next time...

Related Resources:
NOAA: Aerosonde Project update

Aerosonde North America


[edit on 2005/9/16 by Hellmutt]




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