Development of a Lightweight Sonic Anemometer Array for the Measurement of Turbulent Fluxes from Rotorcraft UAS

Grants and Contracts Details


Development of a Lightweight Sonic Anemometer Array for the Measurement of Turbulent Fluxes from Rotorcraft UAS Sean Bailey Project Abstract As the aviation sector expands into commercialization of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and urban air mobility (UAM), there is a pressing need to ensure safe operations within the lower atmosphere and urban environment. This combination of vehicle size and environment require increased weather awareness to allow autonomous aircraft to dynamically avoid dangerous and localized weather conditions such as struc- tural and topographical wind shear, recirculation zones, fog- and smog-induced visibility restrictions, wind canyons, and locally enhanced convective turbulence. Such weather awareness must also be integrated into new efforts to safely accommodate the growing demand of new air vehicles to enter the airspace; the pro- posed air traf?c management for new entrants (ATMx) and Unmanned Aircraft Traf?c Management (UTM) systems will need real-time weather forecasting at hyper-local scales to accommodate safe operation in their intended environments. As part of these efforts, new tools are required for modeling and detecting, and distilling the complex, dynamic, hyper-localized weather environment to identify hazardous ?ight regions. The proposed research seeks to address the challenges of producing actionable information from from high resolution, real-time weather forecasting by developing a sensor array that can be used on a rotorcraft UAS to recover the turbulent ?uxes in the atmospheric boundary layer. These ?uxes are important for the transport of mass, momentum and energy and, as such, their knowledge can improve the weather prediction in the lower atmosphere. As these ?uxes require resolution of the vertical wind component at high data rates, accurate measurement becomes a challenge with rotorcraft UAS. The proposed project seeks to develop a multi-sensor approach to measuring these ?uxes by using an array of sonic anemometers outside the region of in?uence of the rotors. The funds from this award will be used to support a graduate student advised by the PI and collaborating with NASA personnel who will assist validation and veri?cation of the sensor suite. 1
Effective start/end date8/1/2112/31/22


  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration


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