We have a great treat for everyone today!
Two Thermal E-Twin Gliders (the product of a collaborative effort between Teledyne Webb Research and the Jet Propulsion Lab) were shipped from Massachusetts this week on their way to Hawaii. Their names are Lewis & Clark and after some extensive testing off the coast of Hawaii, will join the Challenger Fleet as they head west tackling the first Pacific Legs.
The name Thermal E-Twin stands for the electrical generation and the Twin is 2 thermal engines with the capacity to supply all of the buoyancy drive and electricity the glider needs.
Last week, Lewis was deployed in Cape Cod Bay for some initial testing. While at sea Tod Patterson from TWR who has worked extensively on the development of the Thermals, found a bug in the software and was able to apply a fix to the code allowing for a successful test flight
The results of the test were that the pitch seemed to be lacking at +- 20 deg but everything else looked good. Since then, both gliders have been shipped out to Hawaii and a team from TWR will fly out on the 17th of this month with a planned deployment date of 20th or 21st .
Once in Hawaii, the gliders will be deployed off of the western shore near Kailua Kona where they will fly for a few months of extensive testing in the area as the engineers continue to search for and fix any bugs that may spring up.
In the image above, I have taken data from the european ocean model to plot the difference in temperature between the surface and 1245 m. The scale on the map is from ∆21.8 C to ∆23.4 which is well above the required temperature change for the gliders to fly efficiently
Finally the last two images are different views of the bathymetry for the region, the image on the left showing a digitization by google of the sudden drop off of the sea floor thanks to the volcanic activity that brought about the origins of the hawaiian islands coupled with the imagery from Antonio on the right of the current and future islands in the area.
We will keep everyone updated as we close in on the deployment date of Lewis and Clark
*** The images of the gliders and test flights are from Tod Patterson and Chris DeCollibus and are property of Teledyne Webb Research
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