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Drone from Edwards AFB studying Hurricane Matthew

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Cool track of a drone studying the hurricane from 60,000 ft (flightaware.com) Mehr...

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Dave Mills 8
Came as a complete and fascinating surprise to many of us in S. Fla. who regularly track area traffic. We'd already been tracking NOAA's Miss Piggy out of MacDill. Most of us still had power, so there was considerable interest from the desktops. Personally, I had no idea it had such long duration capabilities. Impressive!
kdurbin
Kris Durbin 4
http://www.nasa.gov/centers/armstrong/photo_feature/global_hawk_deploys_to_study_matthew.html
Av8nut
Michael Fuquay 1
Wow, that's some holding pattern! ;)
rustemov
Mirza Rustemov 1
that is some standby time
chris13
Chris Bryant -1
From that track, it appears to have studied a lot more than just the hurricane.
volvodadfast
Ichiro Sugioka 1
In looking at past tracks, flying along the US-Mexico border appears to be standard operating procedure. Maybe it is done to avoid flying over populated areas as much as possible.
tyketto
Not only that, but if you look at the ground track, it avoids most airways that commercial aviation would use. From SoCal, most flights would take J2 from TUS all the way to SZW near KTLH before turning south to get to the MIA/MCO/FLL area. This completely avoids that, plus the panic most passengers would get if they saw a drone that high.

So you get something that isn't going to be seen on an airway, and safe passage to leave Class A airspace (note that the final altitude was FL610). Definitely something that would be SOP for an aircraft and mission of that type.
mpascal2
Michael Pascal 4
It's 20,000 feet over commercial traffic and 10,000 feet above corporate traffic. I don't think that is the reason.
c4net
I agree. Probably also more fuel efficient, less drag... and no human to worry about having to keep alive...
conx
charlie lange -2
Obomer and Hillary are researching new detention sites for when she becomes potus. These sites will be for those that resist jack booted thugs arriving in UH-60s to take away their gunz. Yep, dats what their doing.

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