Cloud-seeding drone makes first flight over Nevada

Cloud-seeding drone makes first flight over Nevada

Kevin Clifford, Drone America

A gaggle of researchers and aviators in Nevada have efficiently accomplished the primary flight of an unmanned cloud-seeding plane, the state’s Desert Analysis Institute stories.

The flight occurred final week at an FAA-permitted drone check website in Hawthorne, Nevada, the place the DRI has been exploring the potential of utilizing of unmanned aerial automobiles to deal with the state’s persistent drought and different pure disasters by means of climate modification.

“We’ve reached one other main milestone in our effort to scale back each the dangers and the prices within the cloud seeding business and assist mitigate pure disasters brought on by drought, hail and excessive fog,” stated Mike Richards, President and CEO of Drone America, which offered the aeronautics experience to get the plane off the bottom.

Throughout an 18-minute flight, the “Sandoval Silver State Seeder,” as they’re calling the eleven-foot-wingspan plane, efficiently demonstrated its potential to make it rain by deploying two silver-iodide flares, generally used to induce rainfall from clouds. Whereas the Seeder solely reached an altitude of four hundred ft in the course of the check run (and subsequently did not truly trigger any precipitation but), the challenge’s lead scientist referred to as it “an incredible accomplishment for the state of Nevada and everybody concerned.” There’s even an inspiring promotional trailer. Observe:

The subsequent steps for the analysis staff shall be to conduct precise cloud seeding checks round DRI’s operations space within the Lake Tahoe basin.

Whereas the considered unmanned automobiles controlling the climate could also be a bit too near Skynet for some, the apply of cloud seeding has been used up to now for innocuous functions like clearing the air earlier than sporting occasions. The challenge’s chief engineer Amber Broch described it in a extra optimistic approach, saying the flight “additionally exhibits the large potential to make use of unmanned techniques as instruments for environmental science and revolutionary pure useful resource purposes.”