Emily Ranquist, a PhD student in Dr. Brian Argrow’s lab, was recently selected as the winner of the 2017 ARAM Best Student Paper award by the Aviation, Range, and Aerospace Meteorology (ARAM) Committee at the 2017 American Meteorological Society (AMS) Meeting. Her paper, entitled “Exploring the Range of Weather Impacts on UAS Operations,” addressed the ways different weather hazards affect unmanned aircraft systems.
Weather can affect UAS operations in a variety of ways, such as limiting visibility, interfering with communication and navigation, affecting aircraft performance, reducing flight duration, and causing damage to the airframe, avionics, and payload. Additionally, given the current FAA requirement to maintain unaided visual line of sight (VLOS) on the aircraft at all times, the operator, remote pilot in command (PIC), and any other visual observers are also exposed to weather effects on the ground, such as glare, temperature, humidity, and wind. Understanding the safety hazards of weather on sUAS operations has become a high priority due to the exponential growth in the numbers of sUAS being used in academia, industry, and especially the commercial sector throughout the last two decades.
Emily was awarded the Halaby Fellowship at NCAR last summer. She is currently working on the Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (C-UAS) project, “Low-Altitude sUAS Operations and Traffic Management.” Her research is focused on connecting IRISS/RECUV UAS operations to the NASA UAS Traffic Management System. One of the goals of this research is to continue to partner with NCAR to develop a capability for weather advisories and warnings for operators of small UAS.