Small Unmanned Meteorological Observer

Reykjavik, Iceland

Iceland 2009 July 2009, SUMO flew meteorological soundings at Álfsnesi and Kollafjordur, Iceland. Hálfdán Ágústsson and Maríus Opsanger Jonassen gave an interview for the Icelandic TV news.

Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen

LYR 2009 21. March - 04. April 2009, SUMO contributed with 85 flights for investigations of the spring time Arctic Atmospheric Boundary Layer. During the campaign SUMO has been operated simultaneously in a horizontal distance of 1 km.


FLUXPAT III 04. - 23. August 2008, as a part of the larger T32 project, the FLUXPAT III measurement campaign took place near Jülich in Germany. The main focus of this campaign was to study the mechanisms leading to spatial and temporal patterns in energy and matter fluxes of the soil-vegetation-atmosphere system. SUMO was used to close the observational gap between measurements by a Dimona aircraft from MetAir AG and masts at the ground.

Coburg, Germany

SUMO during Coburg 17. - 28. July 2008, we were guests at a field course for german meteorology students from Munich at Flugplatz Steinrücken. Together with piloted balloon ascents, SUMO was used during a night in order to investigate the development of the nocturnal (stable) boundary layer.


Profiling the Arctic Atmospheric Boundary Layer

SUMO on KV-Svalbard 25. February - 13. March 2008, SUMO was successfully operated under harsh Arctic conditions on and around Spitsbergen. During this campaign, both take-offs and landings of the SUMO aircraft were performed from the helicopter deck of the Norwegian coast guard vessel KV Svalbard. The campaign was carried out as a part of the IPY-THORPEX and partly funded by the Norwegian Polar Institute.

See a video here.


FLOHOF -FLow Over and around HOFsjökull

SUMO during FLOHOF 13. - 18. August 2007, the first infield test of SUMO was performed. This milestone in the SUMO project took place under the international field campaign FLOHOF, in Central Iceland. More information on this campaign, which had its focus on instationary gravity waves, can be found here.



The Small Unmanned Meteorological Observer SUMO: A new tool for atmospheric boundary layer research

Published in (year)

Meteorologische Zeitschrift 2009 Volum 18.(2) s. 141-147
Full document

SUMO: A Small Unmanned Meteorological Observer
for atmospheric boundary layer research
IOP Conference series (2008) PDF


The aircraft   Performance  
length 75 cm average air speed 12-18 m/s
wingspan 80 cm maximum air speed 35 m/s
weight 580 g maximum ascent rate 15 m/s
    maximum ceiling height 3.5 km
    engine run time up to 30 min

SUMO is equipped with the autopilot system Paparazzi. The airframe is a commercially available model aircraft construction kit. The main components of SUMO in terms of the underlaying Paparazzi autopilot system consist of:

- airframe equipped with an autopilot controller board

- ground control station (GCS)

- telemetry link for online data transfer

- remote control (RC) transmitter as safety link

For atmospheric soundings SUMO is equipped with a set of meteorological sensors for temperature, relative humidity (SHT75 from Sensiron) and pressure (SCP1000 from VT1 Technologies). Temperature and humidity sensors are attached under the wing (good ventilation, protected against direct solar insolation). The pressure sensor is mounted in the fuselage of SUMO where it is directly coupled with the autopilot controller board.

Sensor parameters

relative humidity temperatur pressure
resolution 0.03 % 0.01 K 0.015 hPa
range 0-100 % -40 -124 degC 300-1200 hPa
abs. accuracy +/-1.8 % +/-0.5 K 1.5 hPa
rel. accuracy +/-0.1 % +/-0.1 K 0.5 hPa


Joachim Reuder Ass. Professor
Stephanie Mayer PhD-Student
Marius O. Jonassen PhD-Student