AAI Corporation Aerosonde

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Insitu Aerosonde)
Jump to: navigation, search
For the Australian manufacturer of UAVs, see Aerosonde Ltd.
Aerosonde Laima bottom view.jpg
Aerosonde "Laima" in display at Museum of Flight, Seattle, WA
Role UAV
National origin Australia
Manufacturer Aerosonde Ltd, a division of Textron

The AAI Aerosonde is a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed to collect weather data, including temperature, atmospheric pressure, humidity, and wind measurements, over oceans and remote areas. The Aerosonde was developed by Insitu, and is now manufactured by Aerosonde Ltd, which is a strategic business of AAI Corporation. The Aerosonde is powered by a modified Enya R120 model aircraft engine, and carries on board a small computer, meteorological instruments, and a GPS receiver for navigation.

Design and Development[edit]

On August 21, 1998, a Phase 1 Aerosonde nicknamed "Laima", after the ancient Latvian deity of good fortune, completed a 2,031 mile (3,270 km) flight across the Atlantic Ocean. This was the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by a UAV; at the time, it was also the smallest aircraft ever to cross the Atlantic.[1] (The smallest aircraft record was subsequently broken by the Spirit of Butts Farm UAV.) Launched from a roof rack of a moving car due to its lack of undercarriage, Laima flew from Newfoundland, Canada to Benbecula, an island off the coast of Scotland in 26 hours 45 minutes in stormy weather, using approximately 1.5 U.S. gallons (1.25 imperial gallons or 5.7 litres) of gasoline (petrol). Other than for take-off and landing, the flight was autonomous, without external control, at an altitude of 5,500 ft (1,680 meters). Aerosondes have also been the first unmanned aircraft to penetrate tropical cyclones, with an initial mission in 2001[2] followed by eye penetrations in 2005[3]

Operational History[edit]


Specifications (Aerosonde)[edit]

General characteristics[edit]

  • Crew: None
  • Length: 5 ft 8 in (1.7 m)
  • Wingspan: 9 ft 8 in (2.9 m)
  • Height: 2 ft 0 in (0.60 m)
  • Wing area: 6.1 ft² (0.57 m²)
  • Empty: lb (10 kg)
  • Loaded: 28.9 lb (13.1 kg)
  • Maximum take-off: lb (13.1 kg)
  • Powerplant: Modified Enya R120 model aircraft engine, 1.74 hp (1280 W)


  • Maximum speed: 45 mph (72 km/h)
  • Range: 100 miles (150 km)
  • Service ceiling: 15,000 ft (4,500 m)
  • Rate of climb: ft/min ( m/min)
  • Wing loading: 5 lb/ft² (23 kg/m²)
  • Power/Mass: 0.06 hp/lb (98 W/kg)


  1. ^ Tad McGeer (February 25, 1999). "Lamia: The First Atlantic Crossing by Unmanned Aircraft" (PDF). Aerovel Corp. 
  2. ^ Po-Hsiung Lin. "Fly Into Typhoon Haiyan With UAV Aerosonde" (PDF). National Taiwan University. Retrieved January 21, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Typhoon Long Wang". National Taiwan University. October 1, 2005. 

Cyclone reconnaissance

Laima flight

External links[edit]