The Graf Zeppelin and Meteorology: Dropsondes and Radiosondes

As the American South gets ready for another pounding by ice and snow the National Weather Service announced that Hurricane Hunter planes have been releasing Dropsondes to obtain data for forecasts of the upcoming storm.

For all the weather nerds out there, here is some zeppelin trivia:  The precursor to the dropsonde was the radiosonde, first deployed by an aircraft during Graf Zeppelin’s Arctic flight of 1931.

Radiosonde being launched from LZ-127

Graf Zeppelin Polar Route (click to enlarge)

The first practical radiosonde was developed by Professor Pavel Alexandrovich Molchanov of the USSR, who traveled on the Graf Zeppelin’s Arctic flight to conduct experiments with his new invention.

Pavel Alexandrovich Molchanov |  Павел Александрович Молчанов

Pavel Alexandrovich Molchanov (Павел Александрович Молчанов)

Molchanov Radiosonde (photo: Radiosonde Museum)

For more information about the history of the radiosonde, visit the website of the Radiosonde Museum of North America.

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M. L. Hopp

I always love it when you highlight things I never knew about LTA. It makes life very enjoyable.