Badass NOAA storm trackers fly into Hurricane Florence

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Maybe if I was told I had a week to live.

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Omgosh… a possessive plural? It’s been years!


If they’re so badass, let’s see them fly into a duck’s vagina!


“The aircraft gathers valuable data that cannot be obtained from the ground nor from satellite images”. It’s a shame that they don’t mention what some of that is. That plane probably has a couple of probes that use friggin lasers mounted somewhere. It would be nice if they were in the foreground instead of an engine you can see on any plane.

Badass weather report makes the point:


IIRC, they drop radiosondes at regular intervals as they progress through the wall and then the eye. This allows them to track windspeed and direction and temperature and maybe pressure?

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Looks like.

Expendable Airborne Instruments

A critical piece of meteorological equipment used by both the Hurricane Hunters and NOAA hurricane aircraft is the Global Positioning System (GPS)-based dropwindsonde (dropsonde or sonde). Track forecast improvements on the order of 20% are obtained through the use of dropsonde data. The instruments are not only launched during surveillance missions, but are dropped into the windiest, rainiest, and most turbulent areas of tropical cyclones.Scientists often describe dropsondes as “Pringles cans with microprocessors and parachutes". The cylinder-shaped instrument is equipped with a high frequency radio and other sensing devices. Dropsondes are released from an aircraft about every 241.4 km (150 miles) over water. Up to four dropsondes can be deployed simultaneously. As the instrument(s) descends to the sea surface, it measures and relays to the parent aircraft a vertical profile of the atmosphere’s temperature, humidity (dewpoint), and barometric pressure measurements, as well as wind data with 15 ft (5 m) vertical resolution and 2- 6 km/h (1-4 mph) accuracy. The dropsonde also receives GPS navigational signals from at least four GPS satellites and measures the Doppler shift of each signal. Measurements are taken and transmitted twice per second while the probe is in the air. Although the dropsonde is descending to the surface rapidly (a drop from 20,000 ft [6,096 m] lasts about 7 minutes), its descent is slowed and stabilized by a small parachute, which deploys immediately upon launch.

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My favorite part about flying in an airliner: looking at weather AND turbulence. I wish they’d put an employment link there because I’d love to go up in one of those hurricane aircraft. It looks like a lot of fun.


Doesn’t this look like fun? The pilot in command is flying the thing, and the flight engineer spends the whole time operating the throttle and prop levers, probably to keep as level an altitude as possible and keep the props from enduring too much aerodynamic stress.

I have to say, while there’s an argument to be made about the risks of sensationalizing weather reporting, using Unreal Engine to create real-time broadcast visualizations of actual extreme weather phenomena and their impacts is extremely cool and informative in a very visceral way. Definitely check out their earlier tornado segment too.

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