Weather UAVs to Fly into Thunderstorms Becoming Reality

Researchers at Oklahoma State University are developing a Kevlar reinforced UAV to fly into severe and tornadic thunderstorms to acquire data in areas considered unsafe for manned aircraft to collect humidity, temperature, and pressure.  The development will take about five years so they should be operational around 2018.  Currently FAA regulations state that you need to visibility see your UAV, that limits you to 2 to 3km away from the operator.  OSU is trying to get permission to use a satellite linked UAV like the military uses so they can operate the drone from farther distances away.  There are different sizes of drones proposed, a smaller one, which may be used by storm chasers would go for $10,000 and a larger one capable of dropping dropsondes and higher altitudes could run for $100,000.


About Chuck Schoeneberger

Former forecaster at Meridian Environmental Technologies Inc (now a Interis Company), with a background in GIS and LiDAR, with other stints at GeoSpatial Services of Winona, MN and Aerometric (Now Quantum Spatial) of Sheboygan, WI. He is a weather technologist for public storm safety from a local to international level. LinkedIn Profile: His views are his own and not of his employer.
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