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
(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.
for high resolution version. Photo courtesy of
"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.
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
NOAA: Aerosonde Project update
Aerosonde North America
[edit on 2005/9/16 by Hellmutt]