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Public Lab Research note

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Recording kite anemometer sounding data

by Ecta64 |

Figuring out how to package and record kite anemometer sounding data has been a experimental process. While I have made many flights that gathered some data, I was less focused on recording and compiling that data and more concerned with troubleshooting and learning how to manage all the various parts of the system. Now that all those prior issues are figured out I wanted to begin making fully recorded observations.

Yesterday I completed a flight at a single altitude (almost 70ft) during which I recorded 6 force scale readings over the course of 30 seconds (camera was on low battery or I would have done the USAF report recommended 1 reading per minute for 3 minutes). I then used a compass and monitored the kite for about a minute to eyeball average the wind direction, which was 310 Degrees magnetic. Line angle (combined with marking on the flying line) established altitude and location area elevation was gotten through google maps after the fact. I brought along a small thermometer which was photographed before the flight. The main variables of a kite anemometer sounding are:



Location coordinates (omitted on my attached sheet since I flew it from my house)

Force readings/velocity

Vector (taken at each altitude surveyed)


Temperature (ground level)

Elevation (of flying site)

Flight notes (modifications to the kite that affect data such as using 1/2 of the 2 section tail)

Statistics information (compiled by spreadsheet app for each altitude where multiple force/velocity readings are made)

I also added two photos to my sheet taken during the sounding. One of the kite (to remind myself which kite configuration was used) and a wide photo showing the general area with the kite included (which could indicate useful landmarks should it be necessary to revisit later or double check compass readings).

Kite anemometer soundings are unique in that you are gathering data much higher (usually) than a tower but not monitoring something that is flying away (such as a radiosonde or pilot balloon) at very high altitudes. It is flown with a UAV-like mentality versus the disposable nature of radiosondes/pilot balloons or a hands off remote tower. The 4 phases of a sounding are launch, "cruise", gather data and recovery. Again very similar to most UAV systems. Since the kite only takes about 30 minutes or less to make and costs pennies it could be considered semi-disposable but I have accumulated 80 or more flights on a earlier prototype.

A template is attached as well as a .PDF of my most recent session:



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