The lighter side of drones...

By: MrMixon , 9:42 PM GMT on February 20, 2013

Unmanned storm-chaser lands CU-Boulder on FAA's domestic drone list
Program director on drones: 'We hate that term and don't use it'

A long-standing program to use unmanned aircraft to collect data on storm systems landed the University of Colorado on a list of agencies and entities that have asked the Federal Aviation Administration for permission to fly drones in domestic airspace.

CU's 2012 request was a renewal of a pre-existing permit to use the Tempest Unmanned Aircraft to collect storm data for atmospheric scientists in Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado, Frew said.

The project, in cooperation with the National Science Foundation and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, involved flying unmanned craft carrying observation gear around supercell thunderstorms and the tornadoes they spawned.

Full Story at the Boulder Daily Camera

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6. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
8:22 PM GMT on February 22, 2013
MrMixon has created a new entry.
5. MrMixon
3:42 PM GMT on February 21, 2013
Conditions around the area this morning:



Not exactly Snowmageddon, but at least there's snow on the ground and a few flakes are still flying.
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4. MrMixon
4:39 AM GMT on February 21, 2013
Well the snow has tapered off here in Nederland for now, which is a bit worrisome because so many of this winter's storms have started off with a promising squall only to shut down earlier than expected. We've only got an inch or two of snow on the ground so far.

However, I'm encouraged by this forecast...

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3. MrMixon
4:33 AM GMT on February 21, 2013
Yeah, UAVs don't have to deal with road traffic while chasing and they can head straight towards the storm over any terrain (at least wherever there aren't flight restrictions). I think it's one of many potential boons UAVs could provide to climatology and meteorology - but we definitely need to set some rules to protect privacy. I don't think anyone wants every square mile of the planet to be buzzing with drones.

You make a great point about war. It's fascinating how many clever plowhares we've beaten our swords into over the generations. I can only speculate as to whether or not we'd invent some of them without the motivation of war, but necessity is the mother of invention, as they say.

If it weren't for the inspiration of war, we might still be trying to chase tornadoes with spark-controlled dirigibles:

From wikipedia:

The earliest examples of electronically guided model aircraft were hydrogen-filled model airships of the late 19th century. They were flown as a music hall act around theater auditoriums using a basic form of spark-emitted radio signal.

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2. BriarCraft
11:17 PM GMT on February 20, 2013
Unmanned storm chasers! What a great use for these things! I would think they could be way more effective than all those ground crews chasing tornadoes, since they could get on-scene much faster.

It's an interesting statement on mankind that we invent many things to help us make war more effectively and then find peaceful uses for them that are way better. If war never existed in the first place, would we still invent these things? I wonder (even though I am a pacifist at heart).
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1. MrMixon
9:44 PM GMT on February 20, 2013
Alright, Front Rangers... let's do a snow dance and hope this system materializes:

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