This paper describes the components and usage of an unmanned aerial vehicle developed for measuring turbulence in the atmospheric boundary layer. A method of computing the time-dependent wind speed from a moving velocity sensor data is provided. The physical system built to implement this method using a five-hole probe velocity sensor is described along with the approach used to combine data from the different on-board sensors to allow for extraction of the wind speed as a function of time and position. The approach is demonstrated using data from three flights of two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) measuring the lower atmospheric boundary layer during transition from a stable to convective state. Several quantities are presented and show the potential for extracting a range of atmospheric boundary layer statistics.

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Published in Atmosphere, v. 8, issue 10, 195, p. 1-25.

© 2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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This work was supported by the National Science Foundation through grant #CBET-1351411 and by the National Science Foundation Award No.1539070, Collaboration Leading Operational UAS Development for Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics (CLOUDMAP).