BLISS Team Supports NOAA ATDD's 75th Anniversary Celebration

BLISS team members Elizabeth Smith and Tyler Bell traveled to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, to support the Air Resources Laboratory’s Atmospheric Turbulence and Diffusion Division (ATDD) open house. This event celebrated 75 years of the Air Resources Laboratory and showcased the ongoing collaboration between BLISS and ATDD.

CopterSonde Demonstration

A highlight of the event was the successful demonstration flights of ATDD’s NOAA-owned CopterSonde Uncrewed Aerial System (UAS). With ATDD’s new pilot unavailable due to training commitments, our team was asked to step in and provide piloting and command support for the demonstration.

Tyler Bell played a crucial role in ensuring the success of these flights:

  • He provided instructions to ATDD staff for necessary upgrades prior to the event
  • Performed on-site platform maintenance to bring the CopterSonde into compliance with current legal requirements
  • Served as the main pilot for the demonstration flights

Distinguished Attendees

The open house attracted notable attendees, including:

  • Dr. Steve Thur, NOAA Assistant Administrator
  • Dr. Michael Morgan, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction
  • Representatives from NOAA’s Office of Congressional Affairs and NOAA Communications
  • Staff from the local National Weather Service office
  • Scientists and staff from the nearby Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Dr. Morgan and Dr. Thur discuss the CopterSonde with Tyler and Elizabeth.
Dr. Morgan and Dr. Thur discuss the CopterSonde with Tyler and Elizabeth.

Networking and Collaboration Opportunities

The event provided excellent opportunities for our team to:

  1. Discuss our partnership with ATDD directly with NOAA leadership
  2. Showcase the CopterSonde platform and its capabilities
  3. Share information about NSSL’s work with ATDD staff and ARL leadership
  4. Learn about ATDD’s history and current research projects
  5. Explore potential future collaborations, including work with ATDD’s tall tower and leveraging their engineering expertise

A Memorable Moment

In a lighter moment, Dr. Steve Thur tried his hand at our Flight Simulator. While his enthusiasm was high, his piloting skills proved to be a work in progress – fortunately, all crashes were purely virtual!

Looking Ahead

This visit has strengthened the existing partnership between NSSL’s boundary-layer research team and ATDD. We’re excited about the potential for future direct collaborations and the opportunity to combine our expertise in advancing atmospheric science research.

We’re grateful to ATDD for inviting us to participate in this significant event and look forward to continued collaboration in the years to come.

Dr. Elizabeth N. Smith
Dr. Elizabeth N. Smith
Research Meteorologist

Elizabeth joined NSSL as a research meteorologist in January 2020, where she focuses on boundary-layer processes relevant to near- and pre-storm environments and convection initiation.

Dr. Tyler M. Bell
Dr. Tyler M. Bell
Research Scientist

Tyler is a Research Associate in CIWRO working on using ground-based remote sensors and WxUAS to advance the understanding of various boundary layer processes. He is acitvely exploring ways to optimally combine data collected from WxUAS and ground-based remote sensing.