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A Review and Practical Guide to In-Flight Calibration for Aircraft Turbulence Sensors

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  • 1 Department of Environmental Meteorology, University of Trier, Trier, Germany
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Abstract

A large number of quantities have to be measured and processed to determine the atmospheric-state variables, which are the actual measurands, from aircraft-based measurements. A great part of the dependencies between these quantities depends on the aerodynamic state of the aircraft. Aircraft-based meteorological measurements, hence, require in-flight calibration. Most operators of research aircraft perform some kind of calibration, but the schemes used and the degree they are documented greatly vary. The flight maneuvers and calculation methods required, however, are published in a number of partly overlapping and partly contradictory publications. Some methods are only presented as a minor issue in publications mainly focused on atmospheric processes and are therefore hard to find. For an aircraft user, it is hence challenging to either perform or verify a calibration because of missing comprehensive guidance. This lack was stated on occasion of the in-flight calibration of the German research aircraft Polar5 carried out for the field experiment Investigation of Katabatic Winds and Polynyas during Summer (IKAPOS). In the present paper, a comprehensive review of the existing literature on this field and a practical guide to the wind calibration of a research aircraft to be used for turbulent flux measurements are given.

Corresponding author address: Clemens Drüe, Universität Trier, Umweltmeteorologie, FB VI, Behringstraße. 21, D-54286 Trier, Germany. E-mail: druee@uni-trier.de

Abstract

A large number of quantities have to be measured and processed to determine the atmospheric-state variables, which are the actual measurands, from aircraft-based measurements. A great part of the dependencies between these quantities depends on the aerodynamic state of the aircraft. Aircraft-based meteorological measurements, hence, require in-flight calibration. Most operators of research aircraft perform some kind of calibration, but the schemes used and the degree they are documented greatly vary. The flight maneuvers and calculation methods required, however, are published in a number of partly overlapping and partly contradictory publications. Some methods are only presented as a minor issue in publications mainly focused on atmospheric processes and are therefore hard to find. For an aircraft user, it is hence challenging to either perform or verify a calibration because of missing comprehensive guidance. This lack was stated on occasion of the in-flight calibration of the German research aircraft Polar5 carried out for the field experiment Investigation of Katabatic Winds and Polynyas during Summer (IKAPOS). In the present paper, a comprehensive review of the existing literature on this field and a practical guide to the wind calibration of a research aircraft to be used for turbulent flux measurements are given.

Corresponding author address: Clemens Drüe, Universität Trier, Umweltmeteorologie, FB VI, Behringstraße. 21, D-54286 Trier, Germany. E-mail: druee@uni-trier.de
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