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Tech Report: Dropsonde



FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (AFNS) -- The Hurricane Hunters of the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron use a cool piece of tech called a “dropsonde” to help forecast hurricanes and other tropical storms.

The GPS Dropsonde Windfinding System is a cylindrically shaped instrument about 16 inches long and 3.5 inches in diameter and weighs approximately 2.5 pounds. The dropsonde is equipped with a high frequency radio and other sensing devices and is released from the aircraft around every 400 miles over water. As the instrument descends to the sea surface, it measures and relays to the aircraft a vertical atmospheric profile of the temperature, humidity and barometric pressure and wind data.

The dropsonde is slowed and stabilized by a small parachute. The dropsonde system operator receives, analyzes and encodes the data for transmission by satellite.

The Air Force Tech Report is a video series that airs every other week and gives viewers a quick look at current technology the Air Force uses to fly, fight and win.