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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Carlsons are now part of the TVN chase team!

A very exciting announcement for the Carlsons' as we join forces with Reed, Joel, Chris, Heidi, Don, Dick M and all the chasers at TornadoVideos.Net!
For the first time ever we will be taking our arsenal of Helicopters, Aircraft, Gliders and Kites out storm chasing and LIVE STREAM the video from the air of storm initiation, wall clouds, tornadoes, storm damage, and hail swaths from across tornado alley!
Until now aerial footage has been limited to major metro areas where TV news helicopters are able to reach. We will be bringing our array of aerial craft to where the action is and launching the best equipment we can based on the conditions. When possible we will live stream actual tornado intercept kamikazi flights from the Wicked Witch RC Jets!
Will they make it into the vortex? Will they be torn apart in the inflow winds? You will be able to follow along on the TVN Live Chase page and find out!


Near-Storm Data and Video Gathering by RC Hobby Helicopter (The Flying Monkeys Project) - by the Carlson's
Abstract: Current technology provides for sampling by Mobile Doppler Radar Vehicles in the near-storm environment above 30m. Below 30m there is a void of sampled data down to 2m where mobile mesonet and data probe deployments pick up the sampling. These MM deployments typically sample the atmosphere from 0 - 2m AGL.

The purpose of this project is to deploy a Radio Controlled Hobby Helicopter carrying atmospheric data gathering equipment to sample the near-storm environment between 0m ground level to 30m AGL.

By making transits from the deployment location 'out into the field' at a height of 30m, a sample of the near-storm environment can be recorded in a location where access to MM vehicles is limited to existing roads.



At the same time a 1080p High Definition - gyro stabilized video camera, controlled by a cameraman (separate from the pilot) will focus on capturing the view of the tornado as it approaches and passes the location. The goal is to stay aloft over the deployment site in the inflow region of the thunderstorm as a tornado passes by.
Video, position GPS, and thermodynamic data (temperature, pressure and humidity) will be captured throughout the inflow region and RFD passage for the single site. The ideal deployment would be to capture the inflow region and also RFD passage in the same flight while holding position.



Through an agreement with TornadoVideos.Net http://www.tornadovideos.net/ - video will be streamed to thier servers in real time allowing for live viewing on the TVN website through Weather Decision Technologies http://www.wdtinc.com/


This is the first test flight and proof of concept streaming through the WDT site on March 7, 2009. Shortly after this flight I encountered three to four weak tornadoes.

Data Integrity: By using all electric powered equipment, contamination of the near atmosphere by the power system will be reduced. Temperature, humidity and pressure sensors will be mounted as far from the lipo batteries as possible (only slight warming source).
Data acquisition option 1 GPS, Temp, Baro, Humid?
Data acquisition option 2 OSD, GPS, Temp, Baro, Windspeed
Data acquisition option 3 OSD, GPS, Temp
A solution for windspeed and direction is also currently being sourced.

Aerial Storm Damage Survey by RC Hobby Aircraft
Abstract: As a low cost alternative to full scale aircraft, the idea is to loft a high resolution >5Mpixel point and shoot camera to capture storm/tornado damage. Having the system readily available and in the storm chaser's vehicle, 'first light of day' undisturbed photographs can be obtained of the damage path. Close in oblique photographs from 0 - 120m can be obtained according to current FAA rules.




Wicked Witch Project Abstract:For a never-before-seen intercept of a tornado from the air we have the Wicked Witch Jets. These are disposible low cost foam aircraft that carry wireless video cameras and can be launched into the inflow of a tornado to broadcast live streaming video of the intercept!


For heavy lifting of instrument packs and HD camcorders we have the Wicked Witch 1. This aircraft was part of the 2008 TWIST-EX project and may be repurposed for future aerial flights.


For long duration flights (up to an hour) we will use an electric powered glider. This glider can be sent up over tornado damaged areas or at the beginning of storm initiation and can stream live video to the ground as well.

For situations where the ground target is stationary for a long period of time and winds are steady we have a KAP rig (Kite Aerial Photography) that can take digital still images and stream live video of tornado damage, hail swaths and pre-storm initiation.

FAA considerations: For 2009, Aircraft will not be instrumented so as to avoid sUAS classification. Aircraft will fly as a hobbyist activity under Advisory Circular 91-57
Aircraft will operate below 120m (400ft), flight control by line-of-site, no flight within 5 miles of any airport and utilize a spotter to warn of full-scale aircraft entering the area. No overfly of populated areas will be attempted.
For 2010 and beyond it is anticipated that we will be able to expand our instruments and capabilities into the new classification proposed by the FAA and mentioned at the end of this FAA notice
"The FAA has undertaken a safety review that will examine the feasibility of creating a different category of unmanned "vehicles" that may be defined by the operator's visual line of sight and are also small and slow enough to adequately mitigate hazards to other aircraft and persons on the ground. The end product of this analysis may be a new flight authorization instrument similar to AC 91-57, but focused on operations which do not qualify as sport and recreation, but also may not require a certificate of airworthiness. They will, however, require compliance with applicable FAA regulations and guidance developed for this category."
Once this new catagory is announced, anticipated late summer 2009, we will be ready to comply and expand into this new catagory with new allowed capability.
This article also indicates a hint at this new catagory of aircraft operation...
"The act proposes the FAA be required to issue a draft notice of rule making by May 2011 to implement the approved commercial UAS integration plan.
Small UAS operating within visual line of sight may be given fast track access ahead of the full opening up of US airspace.
The draft legislation calls for the agency to "determine if certain unmanned aircraft systems may operate in the national airspace system before completion of the plan" within six months of the authorisation act being passed."
More information from the FAA:
SEC. 322. SPECIAL RULES FOR CERTAIN UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS.
(a) In General- Notwithstanding the requirements of sections 321 and 323, and not later than 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall determine if certain unmanned aircraft systems may operate safely in the national airspace system before completion of the plan and rulemaking required by section 321 or the guidance required by section 323.
(b) Assessment of Unmanned Aircraft Systems- In making the determination under subsection (a), the Secretary shall determine, at a minimum--
(1) which types of unmanned aircraft systems, if any, as a result of their size, weight, speed, operational capability, proximity to airports and population areas, and operation within visual line-of-sight do not create a hazard to users of the national airspace system or the public or pose a threat to national security; and
(2) whether a certificate of authorization or an airworthiness certification under section 44704 of title 49, United States Code, is required for the operation of unmanned aircraft systems identified under paragraph (1).
(c) Requirements for Safe Operation- If the Secretary determines under this section that certain unmanned aircraft systems may operate safely in the national airspace system, the Secretary shall establish requirements for the safe operation of such aircraft systems in the national airspace system.
This paper outlines the UAV activities of Vortex2 and how difficult it is to get full UAS approval in the current climate. The homepage of RECUV outlines their research into UAS including in situ sampling of mesocyclones.

7 comments:

Dann Cianca said...

Awesome!!! Congrats!

Heidi said...

Carlson Chasers: Dominating the Plains airspace in '09

Sam Dienst said...

Sweet Deal! Looking forward to seeing some of the stuff at the convention this weekend.

Michael O'Keeffe said...

Yea the 18z GFS is showing a pretty active pattern from Feb 25 all the way to Mar 3!! Something will be chaseable, maybe a Panhandle setup! Anyway looking forward to seeing your live streaming from a heli that will be pretty cool. My dad and I wished we couldve goen to the con this year.

Ryan Shepard said...

"sample the near-storm environment between 0m ground level to 30m AGL."

And we will sample levels higher as well, I think once you guys get your instruments aboard we could put together a data collection process working together for the same purpose

Ryan Shepard said...

"sample the near-storm environment between 0m ground level to 30m AGL."

And we will sample levels higher as well, I think once you guys get your instruments aboard we could put together a data collection process working together for the same purpose

Terry said...

Congratulations, Yall. I think thats a bad ass idea flying those RC helicopters and planes in there. I dont think its ever been done before.

The Carlsons', Verne, Michael and Eric

The Carlsons', Verne, Michael and Eric

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