Drone Flown Into the Eye of a Hurricane

Never in history have there been machines as powerful and as versatile as the drone, and recently weather scientists tried to pit drones with the force of Hurricane Edouard, with one drone flown into the eye of the hurricane.

Four drones called Coyotes — shaped like thin missiles with retractable wings — were launched into the hurricane this week, even as Edouard had 185 kph winds far out in the Atlantic. The drones collected data from parts of the storm that were too low for a hurricane hunter plane to safely fly in. Researchers had been hoping for this type of hurricane to test the drones’ durability. “The stars lined up,” said Joe Cione of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Hurricane Research Division in Miami. “It was strong, we knew where it was going, we had a deployment point where we could get in and out easily.” – Read more here

The seven-pound, six-foot Coyote can be remotely piloted to go up or down, left or right, wherever scientists want to gather wind, temperature, and pressure data. It can fly for two hours on its own. Crucially, the Coyote can fly at below 1000m, too low for piloted aircraft or even bigger drones. Hurricanes are formed by the interplay of cool and hot air over warm ocean waters. Knowing what happens at the interface of air and ocean could be key to understanding the intensity of future storms. See the story here

Called Coyote, the unmanned aircraft was designed to penetrate the eye walls of hurricanes and tropical storms and gather wind speed, temperature and pressure readings below 3,000 feet — where manned aircraft can not safely fly, according to NOAA. The $1.3 million project was funded by a special appropriations bill related to damages from Hurricane Sandy (2012). See more here


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