duckbilled

Hurricane Hunting

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Hi,

I was thinking about doing some hurricane hunting over the weekend, but I really don't know what they do on those flights. Do they just fly into the hurricane, get some readings and head home or is there a typical structure to those flights?

I know it is a silly question, but I was just curious if anyone has any knowledge about those flights.

 

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There are two well known Hurricane Hunter organisations in the US, these being the United States Air Force Reserve's 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Hurricane Hunters. Presumably you mean these two, since other countries also operate such missions, but the US ones are the really well known hurricane hunters.

NOAH operate from KLAL (Lakeland Linder Airport, Florida), the USAFR 53rd WRC operate from KBIX (Keesler AFB, Mississippi).

The USAFR's 53rd WRS use Lockheed C-130s, specifically a variant known as the WC-130 Weatherbird. NOAH use Lockheed P3 Orions, theirs being modified variants known as WP-3Ds. NOAH also use a Gulfstream jet too since it has a higher service ceiling. Both organisations are considering, or in the case of the Air Force, have already used, drones for the purpose too.

In all cases, the manned aircraft are equipped with a number of fancy radar gear sets and a big contingent of meteorologists among the crew. Their main method of study is to fly into the eye of the Hurricane centre at about 10,000 feet AGL and deploy a Dropsonde, which is an expendable piece of data gathering ordinance. It is a tubular cannister which is about 15 feet long, which is suspended from a parachute. Needless to say, the bit where they fly into and out of the eye of the storm are the dangerous bits, it is usually calm in the eye of the storm and so they can circle around in that part in comparitive safety. It is not unknown for their aircraft to be damaged on such missions, a few have been lost. They use the C-130 and the P3 because they are known to be very tough airframes with of course multi-engine safety/reliability.

As the dropsonde floats down, which can take a long time since there are many updrafts in a hurricane, it transmits GPS location data, from which wind speed and updraft/downdrafts can be calculated, along with thermodynamic information such as pressure, humidity and temperature. Sometimes they also deploy weather balloons, known as Driftsondes, which do much the same thing. From this information, they can usually predict the path of the hurricane as well as its likely intensity and duration, particularly when the data is combined with satellite imagery.

To get an idea of what it is like, check this out:

 

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53 minutes ago, duckbilled said:

Hi,

I was thinking about doing some hurricane hunting over the weekend, but I really don't know what they do on those flights. Do they just fly into the hurricane, get some readings and head home or is there a typical structure to those flights?

I know it is a silly question, but I was just curious if anyone has any knowledge about those flights.

 

Will be interesting to see how the flight models behave in a sim hurricane.

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6 minutes ago, ErichB said:

Will be interesting to see how the flight models behave in a sim hurricane.

I suspect you'd need Active Sky for P3D to be in with a shot at getting anything even remotely like a hurricane depicted in the sim with any level of realism. I'd turn off damage in the sim too, as it might very likely end your flight if the plane you use is getting thrown about. As far as a suitable aeroplane is concerned, the USAF used to use the Lockheed Constellation for such missions, and there is of course a Connie in P3D V4 by default, so that'd be a good choice. Are we noticing a theme here by the way? Pretty much all the meteorological aeroplanes people use are made by Lockheed, for example, the UK Met Office used a C-130 as well. Lockheed must presumably build tougher airframes than anyone else!

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Just now, Chock said:

I suspect you'd need Active Sky for P3D to be in with a shot at getting anything even remotely like a hurricane depicted in the sim with any level of realism

Agree

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Great Info. Now I have to figure out which aircraft to fly. Not much available for P3DV4. I have an old license for the CS C130, but I don't think that works.

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2 minutes ago, Chock said:

I suspect you'd need Active Sky for P3D to be in with a shot at getting anything even remotely like a hurricane depicted in the sim with any level of realism. 

AS2016 - check.

Since REX TD+SC was released v4, I was also looking forward to getting that installed, along with one of their PTA presets.

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If you bought the Just Flight Connie (which is the one in P3D), there are some payware expansion packs available for it which include several of the military variants that were used as hurricane hunters in the past, but of course you could just use one of the default ones.

Found this for you by the way, this is the info they search for on a hurricane hunter mission, listed in order of priority:

Geographical position of the flight level vortex center (vortex fix) and relative position of the surface center, if known.

Center sea-level pressure determined by dropsonde or extrapolation from within 1,500 feet (460 meters) of the sea surface or from the computed 925 hPa, 850 hPa, or 700 hPa height.

Minimum 700, 850 or 925 hPa height, if available.

Wind data (continuous observations along the flight track) for surface and flight level.

Surface wind data from Stepped-Frequency Microwave Radiometer (SFMR).

High density three-dimensional Doppler radial velocities of the tropical cyclone core circulation.

Temperature at flight level.

Rain rate from SFMR;

Sea-surface temperature.

Dew-point temperature at flight level.

I guess you could note some of that info from the on screen Active Sky message in the sim on a notepad if you wanted to make it a mission with a purpose.

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From the site I linked above... here's the latest vortex message from an AFR C-130.  (A NOAA P-3 is about to relieve that mission).

 

Product: Air Force Vortex Message (URNT12 KNHC)
Transmitted: 25th day of the month at 15:28Z
Agency: United States Air Force
Aircraft: Lockheed WC-130J Hercules with reg. number AF97-5305
Storm Number & Year: 09 in 2017
Storm Name: Harvey (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 17
Observation Number: 31
A. Time of Center Fix: 25th day of the month at 15:15:20Z
B. Center Fix Coordinates: 26°45'N 96°05'W (26.75N 96.0833W)
B. Center Fix Location: 104 statute miles (167 km) to the ENE (57°) from Brownsville, TX, USA.
C. Minimum Height at Standard Level: 2,631m (8,632ft) at 700mb
D. Estimated (by SFMR or visually) Maximum Surface Wind Inbound: 94kts (~ 108.2mph)
E. Location of the Estimated Maximum Surface Wind Inbound: 7 nautical miles (8 statute miles) to the NW (325°) of center fix
F. Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: From 65° at 102kts (From the ENE at ~ 117.4mph)
G. Location of Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: 11 nautical miles (13 statute miles) to the NW (320°) of center fix
H. Minimum Sea Level Pressure: 947mb (27.97 inHg)
I. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Outside Eye: 11°C (52°F) at a pressure alt. of 3,055m (10,023ft)
J. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Inside Eye: 17°C (63°F) at a pressure alt. of 3,049m (10,003ft)
K. Dewpoint Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): 13°C (55°F)
K. Sea Surface Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): Not Available
L. Eye Character: Closed 
M. Eye Shape & Diameter: Circular with a diameter of 18 nautical miles (21 statute miles)
N. Fix Determined By: Penetration, Radar, Wind, Pressure and Temperature
N. Fix Levels (sfc and flt lvl centers are within 5nm of each other): Surface and 700mb
O. Navigational Fix Accuracy: 0.02 nautical miles
O. Meteorological Accuracy: 1.25 nautical miles

Remarks Section:
Maximum Outbound and Flight Level Wind: 112kts (~ 128.9mph) which was observed 15 nautical miles (17 statute miles) to the NE (55°) from the flight level center at 15:20:00Z
Dropsonde Surface Wind at Center: From 295° at 6kts (From the WNW at 7mph)
 

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I was just asking the same thing in the P3d forum.  

I have the old FS-KBT P-3 orion working in P3Dv4, though it's a bit rough and many of the repaints are not DX10/11 compatible.  It starts up and flies, but nothing fancy as far as gauges.

My big question is how to create a flight plan that has lat/lon as fixes - is that even possible?

Thanks!

sg

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4 hours ago, ErichB said:

Agree

And even with AS you are limited by the maximum wind speed setting. I posted some screen shots last year from one of the Atlatic hurricanes and the most impressive feature was the wave heights.

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3 hours ago, Olmba said:

Some advise, any?

Hang on, kids, it's about to get ugly.

But seriously, you'd be better off turning around unless you're really that bored and want to try to fly through it.

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Just now, Gridley said:

I was just asking the same thing in the P3d forum.  

I have the old FS-KBT P-3 orion working in P3Dv4, though it's a bit rough and many of the repaints are not DX10/11 compatible.  It starts up and flies, but nothing fancy as far as gauges.

My big question is how to create a flight plan that has lat/lon as fixes - is that even possible?

Thanks!

sg

I created a " Mission adaptive Flight Plan Editor " it enables flight plans to be created or modified during flight , any flight plans created with it

only apply to the current sim session ,  they cannot be saved .

The Flt Pln editor is contained in an MFD ( F-111_MFD!DAT49 ) , place the MFD folder in the panel folder of the aircraft that you wish to use and

create a Pop Up window in your panel cfg .

The instrument enables Lat/Longs to be entered into a Flt Plan , entries can be made in any of the 3 Lat/Long formats , any entries made will

show up as Flt Plan lines on your GPS unit , and if you are using the autopilot the Flt Plan will be flown .

If you are interested the instrument ( MFD ) is available freeware at either Simviation or Flightsim website .

Do a search for ' F-111 Pig HUD '  it will give you either the Full aircraft or just the panel , the applicable version is 

Build standard 8 .

The download includes a "Flight Manual" that describes the operation of the Flt Pln Editor .

I realise that it will be a hassle and that it requires creating a Pop Up Window but you will be able to enter Lat/Longs .

An alternate option is to load that F-111 aircraft ( FSX only ) , and fly that into the eye of the storm .

 

Cheers

Karol

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didn't someone create a hurricane hunter gauge and upload it to the avsim library?

 

Edit: 

Found the file, but its FS2004 material...

jelair-hurricanehunterweathermonitor(fs2004)_176973.zip

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