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Author Topic: Hurricane hunters?  (Read 359 times)


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Hurricane hunters?
« on: Thu, 13 Sep 2018 21:47 »
With Florence threatening the southeastern coast of the United States, I've been thinking about hurricane hunters and the aircraft that fly through the storms.

Does anyone have any links to articles with technical information about these missions? I can find some articles in the popular press, but they are short an actual aviation details.

I'd love to know how they plan their routes, how they choose their altitudes, how they stay safe, what kind of turbulence they can tolerate, and things like that.

Does anyone have any resources?
Will /Chicago /USA


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Re: Hurricane hunters?
« Reply #1 on: Tue, 18 Sep 2018 02:18 »
Hi Will

I don't have a lot of detailed info.  I've seen a lot 'h-hunter' specials on TV over the years, and the general picture of how they do this not too complicated.  A number of points: 1. wind velocity by itself is not a hazard e.g. the jet stream winds that airliners fly in all the time 2. turbulence and shear are hazards and are worse in various parts of the storm structure - I suspect this is the part that planning and pilot response is the key to. 3. aircraft - most of them seem to be medium sized turboprops - mostly because huge water injection rates in large high bypass jet engines are a real problem. 4. Most are stripped down versions of commercial models (in the pioneering days robust versions of military cargo types) with lot of stuff heavily bolted to the structure inside for instrumentation etc. 5. These days I think a lot of these flights' main mission is dropping inverted radiosondes around the storm to help computer modeling coupled with satellite data, rather than measuring the winds from the aircraft themselves.  and 6. some of these guys still get to fly through the eye-wail into the eye of the storm which is reportedly still a mystical experience. 

I'd also be interested in any details of specific aircraft and flight planning from people who know more.


Jeroen Hoppenbrouwers

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Re: Hurricane hunters?
« Reply #2 on: Tue, 18 Sep 2018 03:17 »

Hardy Heinlin

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Re: Hurricane hunters?
« Reply #3 on: Tue, 18 Sep 2018 05:35 »
(Hi Torrence, I emailed you yesterday. Hope it didn't drop into your spam folder.)


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Carl Avari-Cooper, KTPA