"Storm drones" to chase tornadoes in Oklahoma (someday)

From CBS news

Oklahoma State University researchers are designing and building sleek, Kevlar-reinforced unmanned aircraft — or drones — to fly directly into the nation's worst storms and send back real-time data to first responders and forecasters.

"We have all the elements in place that make this the right place for this study to occur," said Stephen McKeever, Oklahoma's secretary of science and technology. "We have the world's best natural laboratory."

Views: 1809

Comment by Jack Crossfire on June 1, 2013 at 10:03pm

The world has standardized on the quad & the twin boom pusher.  Here, they put in a 10kW EDF in an extra covering.  It might justify a new airframe, if they think higher speed than normal RC planes would make it more weather resistant & if the extra covering resists hail. 

Comment by Gary Mortimer on June 1, 2013 at 10:25pm

I think I would fire tennis balls with sensors in them and send them off on a suicide mission to ride the storm.

Comment by HeliStorm on June 2, 2013 at 6:24am

I had the pleasure of speaking with Reed Timmer, a well known storm chaser, about this subject. In an episode of the Discovery Channel show "Storm Chasers" they used an RC aircraft in an attempt to get data from near the tornado, as well as deploy airborne sensors into the in-flow of the storm. This piqued my interest, and I was able, through social media, to befriend Reed, and later discuss that particular episode with him. He said, following the episode, he was told (by, implied, the FAA) to cease and desist such operations. He did suggest a university may be able to carry on such research with fewer issues. I am glad to see the idea has not become a dead-end.

Comment by Mark on June 2, 2013 at 8:14am

Beautiful airframe! Although it probably will be broken-up in storm. If electronics still functioning - you'll get your data but not the drone in one piece.

Drone has to be made as one piece flying wing as strong as possible. It will not be flyable in the storm due to unpredictable aerodynamics, but at least it will be hard to break.

Comment by HeliStorm on June 2, 2013 at 9:37am
Interestingly, this news just broke today. Tim was someone with a passion for getting sensors into the hearts of tornadoes. A great researcher has been lost.

Comment by Jack Crossfire on June 2, 2013 at 4:32pm

It's definitely become a money maker to show your SUV being battered by  on the goo tube.  Easy to forget people still die out there, but it is Adsense which pays for the autonomous cars, the blimps, the flying windmills & all the other nice things Goog does for us. 

Comment by Acorn on June 2, 2013 at 6:08pm
That's what you call a sacrificial drone.
Comment by Russkel on June 2, 2013 at 9:16pm

That's a very cool looking airframe.

Comment by Phillip Jones on June 3, 2013 at 9:38pm

The University of Colorado has been flying the Tempest UAV for several years. They've even flown into storms and back out again!


(even more amazing, CU actually has COA's from the FAA so they can fly legally)

Comment by Psylokz on June 21, 2013 at 9:16am
FPV plane sucked into thunderstorm. ArduPilot brings her home.



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