Flying into the eye
Thu, 29 May 2014 22:00:00 GMT —
Hurricane Hunters fly a plane in through a hurricane to collect weather data critical to keep you safe.
There are two groups that do the hurricane hunting, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hurricane Hunters and the United States Air Force Hurricane Hunters.
NOAA flys a P-3 aircraft and the Air Force flys a C-130.
The P-3 is nicknamed Miss Piggy and has flown into 84 storms since 1977. It is an all-weather airplane with three different radars on the aircraft.
The C-130 is a stout combat plane that is sturdy enough to fly through a hurricane.
The Air Force focuses on hurricane reconnaissance and NOAA does reconnaissance and hurricane research.
Both planes fly at different angles, similar to an hourglass, through the storm collecting data from all heights. The C-130 will fly up to 10,000 feet and the P-3 stays around 5, 000 feet. Both outfits have communication with each other and are collecting weather information to send back to the National Weather Service.
One of the most valuable weather instruments found on both planes is the dropsonde. This instrument is important because it is able to send back atmospheric pressure, temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction back to the plane two times a second as it descends to the ocean.
Each season and each storm is different but after multiple trips into storms, the crews are in agreement. NOAA Navigator Peter Seigel says, "it sounds so strange to say that a hurricane can be beautiful because it does so much destruction, but just seeing that inside, it's something that I'll never forget."