20 Apr 2022
20 Apr 2022
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

The DataHawk2 Uncrewed Aircraft System for Atmospheric Research

Jonathan Hamilton1,2, Gijs de Boer1,2,3, Abhiram Doddi4, and Dale Lawrence4 Jonathan Hamilton et al.
  • 1Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, 80309, USA
  • 2Physical Sciences Laboratory, NOAA, Boulder, Colorado, 80305, USA
  • 3Integrated Remote and In Situ Sensing, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, 80303, USA
  • 4Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, 80303, USA

Abstract. The DataHawk2 (DH2) is a small, fixed wing uncrewed aircraft system, or UAS, developed at the University of Colorado (CU) primarily for taking detailed thermodynamic measurements of the atmospheric boundary layer. The DH2 weighs 1.7 kg and has a wingspan of 1.3 m, with a flight endurance of approximately 60 minutes, depending on configuration. In the DH2’s most modern form, the aircraft carries a Vaisala RSS-421 sensor for pressure, temperature, and relative humidity measurements, two CU-developed infrared temperature sensors, and a CU-developed finewire array, in addition to sensors required to support autopilot function (pitot tube with pressure sensor, GPS receiver, inertial measurement unit), from which wind speed and direction can also be estimated. This paper presents a description of the DH2, including information on design and development work, and puts the DH2 into context with respect to other contemporary UAS. Data from recent field work (MOSAiC, the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate) is presented and compared with radiosondes deployed during that campaign to provide an overview of sensor and system performance. These data show good agreement across pressure, temperature, and relative humidity, as well as wind speed and direction. Additional examples of measurements provided by the DH2 are given from a variety of previous campaigns in locations ranging from the continental United States to Japan and northern Alaska. Finally, a look toward future system improvements and upcoming research campaign participation is given.

Jonathan Hamilton et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on amt-2022-96', Sean Bailey, 13 May 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Jonathan Hamilton, 10 Sep 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on amt-2022-96', Anonymous Referee #2, 14 Jul 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Jonathan Hamilton, 10 Sep 2022

Jonathan Hamilton et al.

Jonathan Hamilton et al.


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Short summary
The DataHawk2 is a small, low cost, rugged uncrewed aircraft system (UAS) used to observe the thermodynamic and turbulence structure of the lower atmosphere, supporting advanced understanding of physical processes regulating weather and climate. This paper discusses the development, performance, and sensing capabilities of the DataHawk2, using data collected during several recent field deployments.