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  • GALE Will Fly Into the Eye of the Storm
    Posted by Graham Warwick 12:03 PM on Sep 26, 2011

    Air-launched unmanned aircraft are still a relative rarity, but the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration plans to launch one into the eye of a hurricane. Meet GALE and 8lb that will be tube-launched from a NOAA P-3 Orion out over the ocean to measure wind speed and other data inside the storm.

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    Graphics: NOAA

    Featured in the South Florida Sun Sentinel, GALE has been developed in partnership with Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and UAV maker DynaWerks. The UAV will be flight tested within a few weeks, and two will be flown into separate hurricanes next year, the paper says.

    Dropped into the relative quiet of the hurricane's eye, GALE will be flown down to 100ft above the ocean to send windspeed and other atmospheric data back on the P-3, to help prove a better understanding of how the ocean is interacting with the storm.

    The electrically powered UAV will fly for 60min at speeds up to 110kt. On later flights, as the expendable aircraft nears the end of its battery power, it will be flown into the violent winds of the eye wall, hopefully to survive long enough to provide valuable data on the storm's strength and structure.

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    Tags: awt, unmanned

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