Give us a call on 01722 442951

Hi everyone, my name is Colin Jacobs, a recent PPL earlier this year thanks to OSFS.  I work at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) in Southampton, a centre of excellence that undertakes a wide variety of (largely) ocean-related research and technology development, and it is in this last area that I am hoping someone out there can help us with some aviation expertise. A colleague of mine, Peter Stevenson has asked if I could use my “flying contacts” to help with an oceanographic technology project currently being considered for development at the NOC.

The equipment under consideration is a new “dropsonde” Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV), a submarine like submersible no bigger than 5” diameter to be parachuted into the oceans from a Twin Otter (or similar) aircraft through a launch tube in the fuselage. Fitted with varying arrays of sensors for use in civil oceanographic mapping and pollution monitoring, this concept provides a more economic way of meeting the demand for more frequent and more detailed environmental surveys.

Cutaway model of the small air launched AUV as a new means of carrying out underwater surveys more economicly with a faster response time.

Current issues that we will need help with is proving the reliable operation of the parachute and the law in the United Kingdom as regards to carrying out what are effectively “mini bombing runs” preferably in non-military areas. Does anyone know if there are existing “ranges” where we may test deploy the sondes, and if there is equipment that could be used (cheaply) to track the descent paths etc? If anyone out there thinks that they can help us, please can you contact Peter directly via email

Thanks for your attention – Colin