Advanced Air Data Systems for Commercial Aircraft
- September 2006.
- Physical Description:
- 1 electronic document
- Restrictions on Access:
- Unclassified, Unlimited, Publicly available. and Free-to-read Unrestricted online access
- It is possible to get a crude estimate of wind speed and direction while driving a car at night in the rain, with the motion of the raindrop reflections in the headlights providing clues about the wind. The clues are difficult to interpret, though, because of the relative motions of ground, car, air, and raindrops. More subtle interpretation is possible if the rain is replaced by fog, because the tiny droplets would follow the swirling currents of air around an illuminated object, like, for example, a walking pedestrian. Microscopic particles in the air (aerosols) are better for helping make assessments of the wind, and reflective air molecules are best of all, providing the most refined measurements. It takes a bright light to penetrate fog, so it is easy to understand how other factors, like replacing the headlights with the intensity of a searchlight, can be advantageous. This is the basic principle behind a lidar system. While a radar system transmits a pulse of radiofrequency energy and interprets the received reflections, a lidar system works in a similar fashion, substituting a near-optical laser pulse. The technique allows the measurement of relative positions and velocities between the transmitter and the air, which allows measurements of relative wind and of air temperature (because temperature is associated with high-frequency random motions on a molecular level). NASA, as well as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), have interests in this advanced lidar technology, as much of their explorative research requires the ability to measure winds and turbulent regions within the atmosphere. Lidar also shows promise for providing warning of turbulent regions within the National Airspace System to allow commercial aircraft to avoid encounters with turbulence and thereby increase the safety of the traveling public. Both agencies currently employ lidar and optical sensing for a variety of weather-related research projects, such as analyzing the water content of snow and forecasting lightning.
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 20070019319. and Spinoff 2006; 22-23; NASA/NP-2006-10-445-HQ.
- No Copyright.
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