When it was premiered, “Twister” put forward an awesome idea of science fiction: Release the probes into any storm to figure the tornadoes that could get developed into killers.
It isn’t fiction any longer. Researchers of Oklahoma State University are designing as well as also building Kevlar-reinforced sleek, unmanned aircraft, rather drones, to directly fly into the worst storms of nation and send real-time data back to first forecasters and responders.
Oklahoma’s technology and science secretary, Stephen McKeever, said that they had all elements on the proper place which make it the perfect place for the study to really occur. He also said that they had the ideal natural laboratory that could be found in the world.
Heart of the Tornado Alley is Oklahoma, and it has emerged as battered, yet it’s standing, from the seven tornadoes that had winds exceeding about 200mph – tied to Alabama for most storms that were EF5. The tornado on May 20 which killed 24 was among these. National Weather Center of federal government, with its Storm Prediction Center and laboratories, are headquartered appropriately in Norman, though the research is statewide done on most powerful of the storms of world.
If everything goes like it was planned, the research drones would detect making of tornado that would be based on temperature, humidity and pressure data collected during the travel through guts of storm – critical details which could increase the lead time of forecasts of severe weather.Also the drones would be equipped to answer the pressing questions of meteorologists finally.
Designers estimate that these drones can be operating roughly in 5 years. But there’re limitations on using this technology immediately, including current rules of Federal Aviation Administration which mandate how and where drones could be launched safely in air space of US. The regulations of agency also require the operators of these machines to see this aircraft physically all the time, limiting range to one or two mile.
Same clearances are being sought by the developers as by military, where the operators do not have to have the aircraft in view all the time and can see the data beamed via satellite link.
Machines that weigh till 50 pounds appear to be controlled by the operators safely with an iPad or laptop, cost only fraction of the manned aircraft for research and are quite reliable compared to sending up the weather balloons for divining intentions of a storm. In the simplest form, weather drone could go till $10,000 though models that have more extensive equipment for storm detection could run about $100,000.
About 20 years back the research was started by Jacob for any need of such aircraft while being a University of Oklahoma undergraduate, and was able to arrive at OSU around 7 years back in order to continue with his research. Being native Oklahoman, having much interest in weather, developing ideal storm-savvy technology became his passion.
A storm model was to have the test flight when Moore tornado struck. It got delayed for 2 days. Immediately after that, researchers of OSU posted on YouTube its flight’s video.
To the dismay of researchers, negative connotation has been developed with the name of drones so the researchers prefer to describe about what they’re working on by referring to it as unmanned aircraft.
According to the master’s student at the OSU who is involved in this project, said that it is sad for him to know that drones are being used by government for worsening the society tough the unmanned aircrafts, also known as drones, have the goal exactly opposite to the government’s.