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Grand Sky signs deals with weather analysis companies

According to a release from the Grand Sky Development Company, LLC, the goal of these agreements is to develop precise and comprehensive weather measurements, models and forecasts for UAS operations from and around Grand Sky.

grand sky MT-1.jpg
The new multi-tenant facility at Grand Sky, as seen on Oct. 12, 2021.
Adam Kurtz / Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS — Two companies have entered into multi-year contracts to provide weather-related data collection and analysis services at Grand Sky, the drone research and business park located near Grand Forks Air Force Base.

According to a release from the Grand Sky Development Company, LLC, the goal of these agreements is to develop precise and comprehensive weather measurements, models and forecasts for UAS operations from and around Grand Sky. Providing these services will be TruWeather Solutions, a provider of weather data analytics and risk management products, and Meteomatics, which deals in meteorological technology through the use of a drone.

“This will allow Grand Sky to detect weather phenomena that might negatively impact flight operations that other forecasts can’t see or detect,” said Thomas Swoyer, president of Grand Sky. “One of the tools Grand Sky will use includes the Meteodrone, a ‘mobile micro-weather station,’ which will enable Grand Sky to obtain the highest quality real-time weather insights up to 16,900 feet above the Earth’s surface that traditional weather sensing and radar cannot.”

Weather is one of the greatest risks during Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations, according to the release. The new Grand Sky weather project will begin to reduce that risk and allow for more flight operations based on very accurate forecasts that are updated frequently.

The two new tenant companies will work in tandem to gather and analyze weather data. Meteomatics will gather that data through the use of its drone, which will then be turned over to TruWeather for analysis. According to Swoyer, current data collection and forecasting methods are not granular enough to capture weather that impacts UAS, particularly beyond-line-of-sight operations.

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“Low-level winds, visibility, icing, and cloud heights can impact UAS operations regularly and our ability to know what to expect, even a few hours in the future, can make a big difference,” Swoyer said. “We are excited to bring more precise and comprehensive weather prediction to Grand Sky and our partners. These improvements in accurate weather sensing will result in more flights from and around Grand Sky.”

The goal is to provide weather modeling and forecasting for aviation services at Grand Sky and ultimately, across North Dakota. Grand Sky expects improved accuracy of weather sensing for small and large UAS operations, including electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL).

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Adam Kurtz is the community editor for the Grand Forks Herald. He covers higher education and other topics in Grand Forks County and the city.

Kurtz joined the Herald in July 2019. He covered business and county government topics before covering higher education and some military topics.

Tips and story ideas are welcome. Get in touch with him at akurtz@gfherald.com, or DM at @ByAdamKurtz.

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