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Improved Wind Measurements on Research Aircraft

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  • 1 Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, California
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Abstract

Improved techniques for measuring horizontal and vertical wind components and state variables on research aircraft are presented. They include a filtering method for correcting ground speed and position Inertial Navigation System data with Global Positioning System data, use of moist-air thermodynamic properties in the true airspeed calculation, postflight calculation of the aircraft vertical velocity, and calibration of airflow attack and sideslip angles from the two air-data systems on each aircraft—a radome gust probe and a pair of fuselage-mounted Rosemount 858Y probes. Winds from the two air-data systems are compared for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration WP-3D aircraft.

As an evaluation of these techniques, data from the two aircraft during side-by-side low-level constant-heading runs are compared for mean and turbulent measurements of wind, ambient temperature, and absolute humidity. Small empirical offsets were determined and applied to the two latter scalars as well as to static and dynamic pressures. Median differences between mean horizontal wind components from nine comparisons were within 0.1 ± 0.4 m s−1. Median differences in latent heat and sensible heat fluxes and momentum flux components were 3.5 ± 15 W m−2, 0 ± 2.5 W m−2, and 0 ± 0.015 Pa, respectively.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Djamal Khelif, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697-3975.

Email: dkhelif@uci.edu

Abstract

Improved techniques for measuring horizontal and vertical wind components and state variables on research aircraft are presented. They include a filtering method for correcting ground speed and position Inertial Navigation System data with Global Positioning System data, use of moist-air thermodynamic properties in the true airspeed calculation, postflight calculation of the aircraft vertical velocity, and calibration of airflow attack and sideslip angles from the two air-data systems on each aircraft—a radome gust probe and a pair of fuselage-mounted Rosemount 858Y probes. Winds from the two air-data systems are compared for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration WP-3D aircraft.

As an evaluation of these techniques, data from the two aircraft during side-by-side low-level constant-heading runs are compared for mean and turbulent measurements of wind, ambient temperature, and absolute humidity. Small empirical offsets were determined and applied to the two latter scalars as well as to static and dynamic pressures. Median differences between mean horizontal wind components from nine comparisons were within 0.1 ± 0.4 m s−1. Median differences in latent heat and sensible heat fluxes and momentum flux components were 3.5 ± 15 W m−2, 0 ± 2.5 W m−2, and 0 ± 0.015 Pa, respectively.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Djamal Khelif, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697-3975.

Email: dkhelif@uci.edu

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