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Cyberflight into the Eye of a Hurricane
 

     
 

 Join Us for a Virtual Storm Flight    

Welcome to the Hurricane Hunters!!! So you think you'd like to fly into a hurricane, huh? Well, virtual reality can only give you so much of the experience. We can't simulate the roller coaster ride but we can show you the ropes and take you along on a cyberflight into a storm.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami, FL monitors the tropical Atlantic and eastern Pacific for signs of the development of tropical systems. But over the open ocean, satellites, which is mostly all they have to work with, can only tell them so much. So when an area of disturbed weather develops and they think it might become more than just a cluster of thunderstorms, they task the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, the Hurricane Hunters, to fly into the disturbance and investigate. The area of responsiblity for the Hurricane Hunters is from 55 degrees west in the mid-Atlantic to Hawaii in the Pacific. That's a lot of ground to cover and includes the western Atlantic, the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the eastern Pacific. And there have been occasions when we have been spread across all of those regions at one time. Once a system does develop into a tropical storm or hurricane, we continue around-the-clock flights into the storm until it is no longer a threat to land or it makes landfall.

The NHC issues a tasking to the Hurricane Hunters in the form of the Tropical Storm Plan of the Day or POD as we call it. When the POD shows a tasking, our flight schedulers start assigning crew members to the flight and put them "in the bag" which means they are put into the required 12 hour crew rest period before the flight. Three hours before the scheduled takeoff, the crew shows up to prepare for the flight.

You're just in time... head across the hall to our auditorium, and join the crew for the pre-mission briefing.

 

Briefing   

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