Author Topic: Flying into Hurricane Dorian  (Read 506 times)

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Offline Eye In The Sky

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Flying into Hurricane Dorian
« on: September 02, 2019, 18:31:01 »
These folks are crazy or have some big 'nads.  I've been in some rough weather in an Aurora but...I can't imagine this.  Big thumbs up to the maintainers who keep these aircraft serviceable and safe for these missions.

NOAA Hurricane Hunters fly through eye of Hurricane Dorian 09/01/19
"What a f$$kin' week!" - me, every Monday at about 1130hrs.

Offline Brihard

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Re: Flying into Hurricane Dorian
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2019, 18:44:09 »
These folks are crazy or have some big 'nads.  I've been in some rough weather in an Aurora but...I can't imagine this.  Big thumbs up to the maintainers who keep these aircraft serviceable and safe for these missions.

NOAA Hurricane Hunters fly through eye of Hurricane Dorian 09/01/19

Out of curiosity, what makes it particularly hairy? Airspeed is airspeed, isn’t it? Is there particularly wild turbulence?
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Offline Dimsum

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Re: Flying into Hurricane Dorian
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2019, 19:04:12 »
Out of curiosity, what makes it particularly hairy? Airspeed is airspeed, isn’t it? Is there particularly wild turbulence?

In parts, yes.

Quote
But what does get interesting is flying through the hurricane's rainbands and the eyewall, which can get a bit turbulent. The eyewall is a donut-like ring of thunderstorms that surround the calm eye. The winds within the eyeall can reach as much as 200 mph [325 km/hr] at the flight level, but you can't feel these aboard the plane. But what makes flying through the eyewall exhilarating and at times somewhat scary, are the turbulent updrafts and downdrafts that one hits. Those flying in the plane definitely feel these wind currents (and sometimes makes us reach for the air-sickness bags). These vertical winds may reach up to 50 mph [80 km/hr] either up or down, but are actually much weaker in general than what one would encounter flying through a continental supercell thunderstorm.

https://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/tcfaq/H3.html
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Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: Flying into Hurricane Dorian
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2019, 21:05:01 »
There was a video that (IIRC) NOAA put out about the flight profile that has to be flown to enter/exit the eyewall, etc that had a lot of info in it.  I'll see if I can find it if I didn't bookmark it.

3 things make me pucker a little flying;  bad turbulence, bad icing and RADAR ******** the bed if there's Wx about.  No one can determine how bad a cell/system/squall line/etc is with the naked eye;  you need Weather Mode RADAR and a good operator. 
« Last Edit: September 02, 2019, 21:18:10 by Eye In The Sky »
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Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: Flying into Hurricane Dorian
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2019, 21:36:04 »
I couldn't find the video I'm thinking about but there is this article.  I snipped a few para's out of it below.

25th Anniversary of a ‘hairy hop’ into Hurricane Hugo

On September 15, 1989, NOAA 42 “Kermit” flew a research mission into Hurricane Hugo, east of Barbados, that became what old-time Hurricane Hunters called a “hairy hop”.  This referred to a hurricane flight where the turbulence was so severe as to put the mission in jeopardy.

The plan was for NOAA 42 to enter the storm first, followed by NOAA 43 “Miss Piggy” and the USAF aircraft, designated Teal 57.  On approach to the storm there was a temporary outage of the lower fuselage radar, blinding the crew as to the structure and strength of the storm they were approaching.  Jeff Masters, the Flight Director, and Frank Marks, the Lead Scientist, decide to enter the storm at 1500 feet, an altitude much lower than the usual 5-10 thousand feet.  The hope was to gather energetics information close to the top of the boundary layer.  However, since this was the first plane to enter this storm, the crew had no idea how strong the eyewall turbulence would be.  Once the radar was working again, NOAA 42 was just minutes from penetrating the storm.  The eye appears to be just 12 miles across.

They slammed into an updraft/downdraft/updraft triplet which wrenched the aircraft violently from 20 mph up, to 22 mph down, to 45 mph up again, all while the horizontal winds peak at 185 mph (298 km/hr)!  Then force on the plane goes from 3 g’s downward to 6 g’s up (1 g = the force of gravity).  Even items which were fastened down, such as a 200 pound life raft, are torn loose and sent careening around the cabin.  Even worse, one of the aircraft’s four engines spouts flames.  Just then they enter the calm of Hugo’s eye.  The pilots pull the plane out of its dive 880 feet above the raging ocean surface, a loss of 620 feet in just seconds.  To add to their predicament, the navigator Sean White spots a de-icing boot dangling loose over the engine next to the one on fire.

NOAA 42 is out of commission for the rest of the 1989 hurricane season.


How much does a 200lb life raft weigh during 3 or 6 Gs?  LOTS!!!!!!!!!

I like flying in challenging conditions...but I have no desire to experience that, ever.



« Last Edit: September 02, 2019, 21:44:28 by Eye In The Sky »
"What a f$$kin' week!" - me, every Monday at about 1130hrs.

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Re: Flying into Hurricane Dorian
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2019, 22:06:26 »
I would take that job in a heartbeat!

Offline Brihard

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Re: Flying into Hurricane Dorian
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2019, 22:16:08 »
I couldn't find the video I'm thinking about but there is this article.  I snipped a few para's out of it below.

25th Anniversary of a ‘hairy hop’ into Hurricane Hugo

On September 15, 1989, NOAA 42 “Kermit” flew a research mission into Hurricane Hugo, east of Barbados, that became what old-time Hurricane Hunters called a “hairy hop”.  This referred to a hurricane flight where the turbulence was so severe as to put the mission in jeopardy.

The plan was for NOAA 42 to enter the storm first, followed by NOAA 43 “Miss Piggy” and the USAF aircraft, designated Teal 57.  On approach to the storm there was a temporary outage of the lower fuselage radar, blinding the crew as to the structure and strength of the storm they were approaching.  Jeff Masters, the Flight Director, and Frank Marks, the Lead Scientist, decide to enter the storm at 1500 feet, an altitude much lower than the usual 5-10 thousand feet.  The hope was to gather energetics information close to the top of the boundary layer.  However, since this was the first plane to enter this storm, the crew had no idea how strong the eyewall turbulence would be.  Once the radar was working again, NOAA 42 was just minutes from penetrating the storm.  The eye appears to be just 12 miles across.

They slammed into an updraft/downdraft/updraft triplet which wrenched the aircraft violently from 20 mph up, to 22 mph down, to 45 mph up again, all while the horizontal winds peak at 185 mph (298 km/hr)!  Then force on the plane goes from 3 g’s downward to 6 g’s up (1 g = the force of gravity).  Even items which were fastened down, such as a 200 pound life raft, are torn loose and sent careening around the cabin.  Even worse, one of the aircraft’s four engines spouts flames.  Just then they enter the calm of Hugo’s eye.  The pilots pull the plane out of its dive 880 feet above the raging ocean surface, a loss of 620 feet in just seconds.  To add to their predicament, the navigator Sean White spots a de-icing boot dangling loose over the engine next to the one on fire.

NOAA 42 is out of commission for the rest of the 1989 hurricane season.


How much does a 200lb life raft weigh during 3 or 6 Gs?  LOTS!!!!!!!!!

I like flying in challenging conditions...but I have no desire to experience that, ever.

Sometimes it’s ok to poop yourself in an enclosed space. This sounds like one of them.
Pacificsm is doctrine fostered by a delusional minority and by the media, which holds forth the proposition it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: Flying into Hurricane Dorian
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2019, 22:26:17 »
I would take that job in a heartbeat!

The job "minus a mission like that one"?   :nod:

I just don't like swiss cheese that much.   ;D
"What a f$$kin' week!" - me, every Monday at about 1130hrs.

Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: Flying into Hurricane Dorian
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2019, 22:27:16 »
Sometimes it’s ok to poop yourself in an enclosed space. This sounds like one of them.

Ya...that's not a good flying day really...
"What a f$$kin' week!" - me, every Monday at about 1130hrs.