Mesocyclone Analysis Research and Investigation Aircraft (MARIA)
The aircraft was designed to operate efficiently as a weather research tool. Most of the objective parameters were chosen to optimize the data collected. The cruise speed of 65 knots is approximately twice the average translational storm speed but with a top speed of over 125 mph for rapid closing and to handle high winds. This should allow the aircraft to collect interesting meteorological information without traveling excessive distances. The projected endurance is between 7-9hrs. At least 6 hours of flight time is required to execute the primary mission. This large time window was desired to gather data prior to, as well as during, convection initiation and ramp up of circulation.
Cruise Velocity: 65 mph [29.0 m/s]
Maximum Velocity 125mph [55.9 m/s]
Weight: 35 lb.
Packing Dimensions: 42” x 53” x 17”
Endurance: 6 hrs.
Structural Limit: 80mph [35.7 m/s] gusts
Gust load design value corroborated by annual maximum gust speeds
Onboard Weather Data:
• 5 Hole Probe
• Up to 12 dropsondes