Some of our own OU Aviation pilots recently partnered with NOAA's National Severe Storms Laboratory and the University of Colorado to do cutting edge weather research with small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS). EPIC, the Environmental Profiling and Initiation of Convection Field Project, involves deploying fixed-wing and sUAS to measure vital data in unstable atmospheres.
OU has a multidisciplinary team assembled for the project, with students from the departments of aviation, meteorology, engineering, and electrical engineering, as well as faculty and staff from the same areas. The teams have been conducting daily sUAS flights at Oklahoma Mesonet sites to collect data regarding temperature, moisture, and winds to help determine the potential for thunderstorm development. This information could be crucial to improving short-term weather forecasts up to three hours before severe weather could actually strike.
Local news station KFOR recently featured a segment regarding the EPIC project and can be viewed on the KFOR website. For more technical information on the project, visit the NOAA NSSL news page.
Congrats to all our students, faculty, and staff involved in this groundbreaking project!