A Suitable Platform for Storm Penetration, Risk Analysis for the SPA-10 Aircraft Modification
The SPA-10 project, sponsored by U.S. National Science Foundation, is to acquire and qualify a replacement for the retired T-28 “storm penetration” aircraft previously used to acquire meteorological data to enable understanding and modelling of mid-continent thunderstorms. The National Science Foundation selected the Fairchild A-10 (bailed from the U.S. Air Force) as the platform to be adapted to perform the storm penetration mission to altitudes of eleven kilometers, and funded Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Interdisciplinary Remotely-Piloted Aircraft Studies (CIRPAS) as prime contractor. An expert panel conducted a review of the SPA-10 project in 2014 and recommended a risk analysis addressing hazards to the aircraft and pilots, such as icing, hail, turbulence and lightning. This paper presents the results of the risk analysis performed in response to this need, including recommended mitigations.