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Molecular Optical Air Data System (MOADS)

Program Manager
Charles Richey

(734) 975-8777 x112

MOADS Description
MOADS is an optical air data system that incorporates Michigan Aerospace Corporation's LIDAR technology to detect the atmosphere using both aerosol and molecular components of the scattered return signal.  MOADS is a replacement for current pitot tube technology and incorporates a flush-mount design that does not protrude from the aircraft skin.

MOADS can operate solely on molecular scattering of the atmosphere to provide all air data products. Aerosols, if present, are also utilized but are not required. MOADS operates in the ultraviolet at 266nm, invisible to the human eye. This wavelength provides a high degree of molecular backscatter, but does not penetrate far due to ozone absorption.

MOADS Advantages

  • Flush-mount design
  • Low maintenance
  • Self calibrating
  • Only requires molecular scattering (but takes advantage of aerosol scattering, if present)
  • Detects true atmospheric conditions outside of the aircraft's turbulent flow field
  • All air data products provided with one instrument
  • Accurate for highly maneuverable aircraft as well as hoverable aircraft
  • Operates at high angles of attack (in the proper configuration, MOADS can continue to measure air data products at angles of attack of 90 degrees) - unlike pitot tubes
  • Airframe independent
  • Tri-service commonality
  • Reduced Life Cycle Cost

Other applications of this technology include wind shear, wake vortex, clear air turbulence, and engine unstart conditions.



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