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Wind Gust Measuring at Low Altitude Using An Unmanned Aerial System

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posted on 23.05.2021, 12:04 by Alton Yeung
A small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was developed with the specific objective to explore atmospheric wind gusts at low altitudes within the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL). These gusts have major impacts on the flight characteristics and performance of modern small unmanned aerial vehicles. Hence, this project was set to investigate the power spectral density of gusts observed at low altitudes by measuring the gusts with an aerial platform. The small UAV carried an air-data system including a fivehole probe that was adapted for this specific application. The air-data system measured the local wind gusts with an accuracy of 0.5 m/s by combining inputs from a five-hole probe, an inertial measurement unit, and Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receivers. Over 20 flights were performed during the development of the aerial platform. Airborne experiments were performed to collect gust data at low altitudes between 50 m and 100 m. The result was processed into turbulence spectrum and the measurements were compared with the MIL-HDBK-1797 von K´arm´an turbulence model and the results have shown the model underpredicted the gust intensities experienced by the flight vehicle. The anisotropic properties of low-altitude turbulence were also observed when analyzing the measured gusts spectra. The wind and gust data collected are useful for verifying the existing turbulence models for low-altitude flights and benefit the future development of small UAVs in windy environment.





Master of Applied Science


Aerospace Engineering

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type