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An Airborne Laser Air Motion Sensing System. Part I: Concept and Preliminary Experiment

R. J. KeelerNational Conter for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO

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R. J. SerafinNational Conter for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO

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R. L. SchwiesowNational Conter for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO

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D. H. LenschowNational Conter for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO

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J. M. VaughanRoyal Signals and Radar Establishment, Gt. Malvern, UK

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A. A. WoodfieldRoyal Aircraft Establishment, Bedford, UK

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Abstract

Measurement of air motion relative to an aircraft by a conically scanned optical Doppler technique has advantages over measurements with conventional gust probes for many applications. Advantages of the laser air motion sensing technique described here include calibration based on physical constants rather than experiment for an accurate measurement of mean wind, freedom from flow distortion effects on turbulence measurements, all-weather performance, reduction in error from mechanical vibrations and ability to measure vertical wind shear. An experiment comparing a single-component laser velocimeter and a differential pressure gust probe shows that the optical approach measures the turbulence spectrum accurately at frequencies up to 10 Hz and that the signal-to-noise ratio is not a limiting factor. In addition, we have observed the effect of spectral skewing caused by airflow distortion in cloud.

Abstract

Measurement of air motion relative to an aircraft by a conically scanned optical Doppler technique has advantages over measurements with conventional gust probes for many applications. Advantages of the laser air motion sensing technique described here include calibration based on physical constants rather than experiment for an accurate measurement of mean wind, freedom from flow distortion effects on turbulence measurements, all-weather performance, reduction in error from mechanical vibrations and ability to measure vertical wind shear. An experiment comparing a single-component laser velocimeter and a differential pressure gust probe shows that the optical approach measures the turbulence spectrum accurately at frequencies up to 10 Hz and that the signal-to-noise ratio is not a limiting factor. In addition, we have observed the effect of spectral skewing caused by airflow distortion in cloud.

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