While many protect themselves from storms and guide others to do the same, there are those who go against them to collect data considered important, such as path, strength and time when they occur, assisting weather forecasting centers and governments in effective planning of the coping with these phenomena. They are hurricane hunters, equipped with cutting-edge technological devices and planes prepared to face the extreme conditions of the events.
Operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the US Air Force Reserve Command, these vehicles can withstand flights for periods of 8 to 10 hours uninterrupted in high winds (which can reach hundreds of kilometers) per hour), lightning and lots of water.
In and out of the storm
One model of these planes is the Lockheed WP-3D Orion (P-3 Orion), in which scientists on board use equipment capable of transmitting pressure, humidity, temperature, wind direction and speed measurements, providing a detailed view of the storm and also of its intensity, providing researchers on land with indicators of sudden and potentially deadly occurrences. The two aircraft of this type used by NOAA were made to dive into hurricanes continuously.
Another is the Gulfstream IV-SP (G-IV Jet), developed to operate above and around these weather events. With a range of 7,400 km of flight and reaching 13,700 meters in height, it offers a true picture of what happens outside of storms, complementing with critical data any and all reports that can help prevent further damage to the locations affected. Operating since 1997, it has experienced almost all hurricanes originating in the Atlantic Ocean since then.
Both the WP-3D Orion and the G-IV Jet are located at the NOAA Aircraft Operations Center, located in Florida, whose team consists of civilian and military pilots and flight engineers, as well as highly trained meteorologists and electrical engineers “to operate in adverse weather conditions. “