The Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research (NUAIR) Alliance recently partnered with WindShape and TruWeather Solutions to test the impact of wind on the airworthiness and performance of different types of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).
NUAIR manages the federal UAS test site at Griffiss International Airport in Rome, N.Y., where the testing took place.
“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,” says Major General Marke F. “Hoot” Gibson (ret), CEO of the 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 an array with numerous small fans that generate variable wind profiles. This modular wind generation system enabled the partners to evaluate drones within a controlled, safe and repeatable environment for airworthiness and improved platform engineering, explains NUAIR.
“Our goal is to support the drone industry by providing drone-specific test solutions,” says Guillaume Catry, CEO 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.”
For its part, TruWeather has developed technology to better predict micro-weather so that UAS pilots can make more informed decisions and advance mission effectiveness. The more it understands how winds affect different UAS platforms, the better the company can tailor its micro-weather prediction to specific platforms.
Don Berchoff, co-founder of TruWeather, says, “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, which is based out of Switzerland, will return to New York for additional wind and weather impact tests, including a long-endurance flight.