The Next Generation Air Transportation System program was developed to address the problems associated with the ever-increasing growth of aviation by improving efficiency at airports around the US. A major component of this effort is to reduce aircraft separation, which is highly dependent upon the development of instrumentation that can accurately monitor and measure wake vortices. The development and assessment of fast-time vortex models for use in optimizing aircraft separation during approach and departure operations is one example for which a thorough understanding of wake vortex dynamics is needed. At present there is no current operational system that will meet all of the requirements of a useful wake vortex sensor. In the wake vortex sensing mode Windimager operates at a high PRF (20 kHz) and transmit a narrow pulse in order to sample the wake region with high longitudinal spatial resolution. The localized scan and high PRF will allow Windimager to measure a tighter array of radial wind velocities commensurate with wake vortex estimation transvers resolution requirements, with range gates as short as 7.5m. With regard to wake vortices, of significant interest is Windimager's potential to achieve relatively short pulses (<100 ns) of sufficient energy (~200 uJ). This capability, coupled with a near optimal wake vortex estimation algorithm, has the potential to yield a system that can provide very accurate estimates of vortex circulation strength and position.
Windimager has been designed to be an extraordinarily flexible, general purpose, wind measurement platform with applications in a number of different industries, including: 1. Wind Energy Wind energy generation is one of the fastest growing industries in the world and LIDAR technology is gaining a great deal of momentum in this market segment. Windimager can perform both wind assessment and power operations improvement, replacing multiple LIDARS or anemometer towers. 2. Yachting Maritime markets potentially include ocean-going vessels as well as subscription wind data and weather sales to harbors and ports. There are four opportunities to address in this market: (1) the owners of luxury yachts, (2) the yacht manufacturers, (3) the yacht charter operators and (4) the harbor market where ships of all types operate. 3. Meteorology Environmental scientists have successfully used Lidar systems to accurately track the direction and dispersion of factory atmospheric emissions and volcanic ash, as well conduct studies of the formation of typhoons. 4. Homeland Security With its ability to monitor aerosol movements over large areas Windimager is an ideal platform to track the dispersion of atmospheric contaminants. 5. Firefighting Successful suppression of any large scale fire depends on an understanding of environmental factors which effect fire behavior. Wind speed and direction are among the most important environmental influences.