Left, CopterSonde is piloted against the sunset. Right, the CopterSonde with main shell components, which are 3D printed, indicated. Instruments reside in the front shell, or 'scoop' part of the CopterSonde. Left, CopterSonde is piloted against the sunset. Right, the CopterSonde with main shell components, which are 3D printed, indicated. Instruments reside in the front shell, or ‘scoop’ part of the CopterSonde.

CopterSonde

The CopterSonde is an uncrewed aerial system (UAS) developed at the Univeristy of Oklahoma for the observation of lower atmospheric conditions. Tony Segales (OU-CIWRO) is the main developer of the system, and continuous to work in the BLISS group as the engineer improving and supporting this system and expanding capaibilities generally. You can read about the technical specifications of the CopterSonde in Tony’s [AMT article] (https://amt.copernicus.org/articles/13/2833/2020/) and in the [US Patent documentation] (https://patents.google.com/patent/US20210214079A1/en).

The CopterSonde has undergone NOAA Airworthiness tests, and is cleared to fly on NOAA projects. It has flown up to 10,000 ft MSL and has operated from the ice sheets of finland. It is capable of withstanding approximately 60 mile/hour horizontal windspeeds, and can profile up to 5,000 ft per flight taking 15 minutes to complete. The platfrom weighs 4.4 pounds and uses a customized version of Ardupilot.

The meteorological sensors are located in the forward “scoop” of the CopterSonde, which is aspirated and protects them from solar heating. Each scoop is calibrated individually before use. The platfrom uses “wind vane mode” to measure wind speed and direction, where the platform rotates into the wind and speed is measured as a function of the pitch of the craft induced by the wind, eliminating the issues associated with inserting a wind sensor into flow disturbed by the quad-copter propellors. Please refer to the links provided above for more detailed information about these methods. You can also check out this story for some more history and information about the construction of the Coptersonde.