North Carolina Taking Aviation Forecasting to a New Level, the Low-Altitude Airspace
- North Carolina study assessed low-altitude weather phenomena by using ground-based sensors to capture real-time weather data critical for Advanced Air Mobility (AAM).
- The assessment’s results provide critical information for infrastructure, flight routes, and ground operations planning considerations across North Carolina to enable AAM.
- Washington Warren Airport is on a growing list of weather tech first adopters, aiming to become the first airport featuring scalable unmanned drone operations on the East Coast
This September, TruWeather Solutions wrapped up a weather study focused on the future of Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) for North Carolina in collaboration with AeroX and DM-AirTech. The purpose of the project was to assess low-altitude weather phenomena, highlight potential hazards for Uncrewed Aircraft Systems (UAS), and utilize ground-based sensors to capture real-time weather data critical for drone flight.
The study performed a rigorous hazardous weather and climatological assessment for the state of North Carolina. The assessment included DM-AirTech’s VertiPlaceGCW service to analyze operability of drones, eVTOLs, and helicopters across the state, which identified important constraints in the mountains and coastal areas of North Carolina. The assessment also included a localized deep dive of high impact microweather for drones and eVTOLs such as low visibility, shear, and turbulence within four major metropolitan areas across the state: Winston-Salem, Raleigh, Charlotte, and Asheville. The assessment’s results provide critical information for infrastructure, flight routes, and ground operations planning considerations across North Carolina to enable AAM.
A survey of existing weather sensors and gaps in current weather observations’ ability to capture the hazardous weather for sUAS and eVTOL operations was also conducted as part of the North Carolina statewide weather study. The gap-analysis covered all the available sensor data ranging from ASOS/AWOS stations to radar coverage and personal weather stations. The outcomes set the stage for follow-on efforts deploying advanced weather sensing networks and coordinating with AeroX and the FAA to improve low-altitude aviation weather information.
In another North Carolina effort, state-of-the-art weather sensors were installed at the Washington Warren Airport: A Tempest sensor that measures current weather conditions and the NRG-ZX-300 lidar. The NRG lidar can capture an accurate view of the vertical wind profile within the lower atmosphere; essential for optimizing fuel/battery capacity and ensuring the maximum number of flights are performed most efficiently.
Washington-Warren Airport is aiming to become the first airport that features both traditional aviation and scalable unmanned drone operations on the East Coast. The ground sensors and the corresponding micro-weather data network are the proof of concept needed for safe integration of drone operations at the regional and national level.
The drone industry has shown explosive growth over the last decade, and what was once seen as futuristic visions are now becoming reality. The rapid advancement in aviation technology must be met with equal evolution of weather monitoring. TruWeather has taken on this challenge head-on with an honest, direct approach towards meeting the demands of the next generation of urban travel and delivery. TruWeather’s foundational work in North Carolina marks a major step in enabling AAM operations across North Carolina. The next critical step is ongoing collaboration with drone manufacturers, operators, and policy makers in establishing a network of weather sensors and integration of microweather models.