NUAIR Alliance tests impact of weather on drone performance

Windshape, a Switzerland based company, in partnership with the New York State UAS Test Site, TruWeather Solutions and the NUAIR Alliance, used industry-leading micro-weather stimulations to test the impact of wind on the air worthiness and performance of various types of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) platforms, says the NUAIR Alliance. The testing took place at the New York State UAS Test Site at Griffiss International Airport, in Rome, New York.

“We know that weather impacts small drones in a variety of ways and these tests enabled us to evaluate that impact and each platform’s capacity to reject atmospheric disturbances and maintain safe flight,” said Major General Marke F. “Hoot” Gibson (ret), chief executive officer, NUAIR Alliance. “This information is incredibly important to the safe integration of drones in the national airspace and ultimately our ability to unlock the commercial potential of UAS.”

Windshape’s technology uses a fan array with numerous small fans which generate variable wind profiles. This innovative modular wind generation system enabled partners to evaluate drones within a controlled, safe and repeatable environment for air worthiness and improved platform engineering. “Our goal is to support the drone industry by providing drone specific test solutions,” said Guillaume Catry, CEO, WindShape of Windshape. “We believe we can facilitate the drone industry by allowing manufacturers to demonstrate that their drones can overcome weather obstacles and safely achieve their mission.”

In order for the UAS industry to achieve Beyond Visual Line of Site flights and operate drones autonomously these tests are critically important to the development of systems that can perform in a variety of weather. Part of that development is knowing and being able to accurately predict weather as well. For its part, TruWeather has developed technology to better predict micro-weather so UAS pilots can make more informed decisions and advance mission effectiveness. The more it understands how winds affect different UAV platforms the better it can tailor its micro-weather prediction to specific platforms.

“Micro weather is a primary risk to safe and productive drone operations,” said Don Berchoff, co-founder of TruWeather. “TruWeather envisions a day when weather alerts and predictions are specifically tailored for each drone.  A weather simulator to test and certify drones in varying weather conditions can enable development of drone specific weather analytics to increase drone safety, productivity and revenue generation.”

WindShape will return to Syracuse for additional wind and weather impact tests including a long endurance flight experiment.

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