HOUSTON (CW39) –
Hurricane hunters don’t fly over storms, the tops of a big hurricane can be over 50,000 feet high! Planes that the hurricane hunters use only travel 30,000 ft. into the air. Any way…. the information that we need is close to the surface! It is what will be impacting us at landfall. They fly in in around 1,000 feet to 10,000 feet above the surface.
- An “alpha pattern” is the flight path typically followed to collect data in a tropical storm.
- Think of cutting a diagonal across the storm. Then, a series of left turns, so the aircraft never has to fight the counter clockwise flow of the wind.
- After two passes through the eye the winds in all four quadrants have been measured.
- At this point, the plane would typically continue the alpha pattern, making two more pass throughs before heading home.
- Dropsondes, small weather devices with a parachute attached, are released in various places such as the eye wall and center of the storm. This is a weather instrument that records and sends back vital information such as wind speed and pressure.
- Missions last about 11 hours