3
$\begingroup$

I understand wind direction can vary in a column of air? With only altitude control on a blimp to navigate for long flights, a blimp in theory could navigate without engines. In order to take real time wind direction reading along a column of air with reusable devises like a fishing line, weighted for stability, then a sensor or string be used to get an accurate reading? or maybe a cluster of spread out drones could be used for this?

$\endgroup$
2
  • $\begingroup$ Balloonists already navigate like this. For typically short flights, it's enough to check the "winds aloft" forecast just before launch; no in-flight sensing is needed, beyond direct observation of which way the balloon is drifting. $\endgroup$ May 15 at 19:28
  • $\begingroup$ @CamilleGoudeseune i corrected it thanks for the help $\endgroup$ May 15 at 19:34

2 Answers 2

3
$\begingroup$

Yes, this gets into the question of off-board versus on-board far-field air data sensing capabilities. With regards to the latter, lidar systems have been studied. Alas, ttbomk, no practical, reasonably-priced system solution exists. However, conceptually, multiple off-board near-real-time sources could be leveraged. The choice might be determined by intended altitudes of operation. For example, there may be a way to 'crowdsource' derived wind data from other aircraft operating in the region. Another possibility is satellite-based sensing, such as that provided by Spire.

$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

To check the wind speed and direction at levels below the aircraft, balloon pilots often drop whipped cream or shaving cream.

To explore the wind speed and direction at levels above the aircraft, releasing small (toy) helium balloons would be a good option-- certainly balloonists routinely do this from the ground before launch to see what is going on higher up.

Of course these days the obvious solution (as hinted in the question) is an array of drones (e.g. quadcopters) autonomously keeping station at various positions above and below the balloon/ blimp--data such as power demand, required angle of tilt relative to the horizon, and GPS-derived vertical and horizontal groundspeeds could be utilized to map out the vertical and horizontal shears in the wind field above and below the balloon/ blimp.

$\endgroup$

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .