The following flight constraints were placed on Aerosonde during
CAMEX-4 in 2001. These constraints and rules will also be followed
this season for any potential Atlantic basin TC-Aerosonde missions in
- Autonomous flight termination at 2500ft 1
- Autonomous flight termination on lost SATCOM link (Iridium).
SATCOM link time out to be set at 45 min.
- Flight termination ability from Aerosonde Mission Planning Interface
- AMPI to be setup in CARCAH with Aerosonde operator
- On command from CARCAH we must terminate a flight if there are
- When the 53rd AF has been tasked for a low-level invest or fix,
there will be no Aerosonde flights.
(This has been Specifically added for 2005 flight plans)
1: One possible exception to the 2500 ft
ceiling limitation is being proposed. If no manned aircraft are in the storm,
a spiral sounding within the hurricane eye (up to a max altitude of
10000 ft) is requested. In addition, eyewall penetration at this altitude (as
the Aerosonde departs the eye) is also requested. Immediate descent to
2500ft would be initiated once the Aerosonde safely exits the hurricane
eyewall region and begins the ferry back to Wallops Island, Va. This
exception is requested so as to maximize the chances of aircraft full
recovery. Again, this flight path deviation above the 2500 ft ceiling will
ONLY be requested if NO manned aircraft are in the storm at the time.
While still adhering to the 6 limitations outlined above, it also should be
noted that there is a strong interest to coordinate 2005 Aerosonde efforts
with any non low-level invest AFRES mission in addition to any scheduled or
tasked G-4/P-3 flights that may arise. (In any such Aerosonde/manned flight
coordinated mission the 2500 ft ceiling will be strictly adhered to.)
TIMING FOR 2005 AEROSODNE MISSIONS
This has yet to be officially determined. However, we hope to conduct
our calibration test flight the first week of August and be ready to
fly TC missions soon after. As of today, it appears that our
"operational window of opportunity" will be most of August 2005 and
from early October through the end of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane
season. However, it should be noted that these times may be subject
"REAL-TIME" LOGISTICAL ISSUES
We have tentatively set the ftp data update cycle to be every 15
minutes from takeoff to a radial distance of 200 km and then every 5
minutes radially inward of 200 km. The number of individual AMDAR
strings posted for each (15min or 5min) ftp update could range from 1
(far from the storm in ~homogeneous conditions) to several AMDAR
strings per ftp update (e.g. near the eyewall). Again, his will
wholly depend on the relative position of the Aerosonde platform
within the storm environment.
- CARCAH- Coordination is a very important aspect of these
missions, and as such, working closely with CARCAH is a top priority.
Aerosone has agreed to make sure CARCAH has the real-time ability to know, at
all times during the flight, where the Aerosonde is located. It should
also be noted that Aerosonde missions will be terminated should any of
the conditions outlined in "FLIGHT LIMITATIONS"
be encountered. CARCAH will at all times have the ability to contact an
Aerosonde representative via phone. In addition, an HRD representative will
be on hand (at TPC/with CARCAH) during all Aerosonde TC missions. Since
an Aerosonde mission can be up to 24h in duration coupled with the
fact that we are planning staggered mission(s), select HRD personnel
in Miami have agreed to participate in this effort.
- AMDAR format -
The real-time data will be an ASCII string in American Meteorological Data
Relay (AMDAR) format.
Data included in the AMDAR ASCII string...
In addition (but not part of the AMDAR string), real time SST estimates will
be provided using an onboard downward looking IR sensor.
- Aerosonde ID number
- Aerosonde position (Lat/Lon)
- wind speed
- wind direction
- Aerosonde flight level (pressure altitude)
- Data resolution (in time and space) -
Every 10s data is stored onboard the Aerosonde hard drive and will be
available at this resolution (or higher) in 'post-storm analysis mode'.
However, due to in flight transmission limitations data will
not be transmitted every 10s in real-time. Instead, Aerosonde will
follow the AMDAR procedure for updating data.
Essentially, a 'new' AMDAR string is recorded when atmospheric
conditions change beyond a preset threshold. Ambient homogeneous
conditions = few AMDAR updates, rapid changes in the environment
(e.g. eyewall) = many AMDAR updates.
DATA ACCURACY/ERROR CHARACTERISTICS -
In order to accurately and reliably measure atmospheric parameters the
Aerosonde uses 3 Vaisala RSS902 Sondes. These sondes can measure
Pressure, Temperature and Humidity within 0.2 hPa, 0.1°K, 2%,
respectively. Using Aerosonde's Proprietary wind measurement
system winds can be measured within 0.5 ms-1.
As far as the reliability of these measurements Aerosonde has
provided the following estimates with regard to instrument measurement error:
Pressure: +/- 1.5 hPa
Temp: +/- 0.5°K
Humidity: +/- 2%
Winds: +/- 0.5 m/s
IR SST: +/- 0.1°K
Additional details about this Aerosonde project well as the
Aerosonde Corporation can be found HERE.
For information about NASA's Wallops Flight Facility please visit
If you have questions or comments about the Aerosonde or about our
2005 plans to use this unique platform in the near-surface hurricane
environment, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Last modified: 8/01/2005