The U.S. Air Force Reserve “Hurricane Hunter” aircraft touched down on F.D. Roosevelt Airport in St. Eustatius on Friday afternoon as part of a preparedness mission in the Caribbean. School children from Statia’s five primary schools and Gwendoline van Putten secondary school visited the reconnaissance aircraft and met with crewmembers.
There was also a delegation from Saba, consisting of 40 children and government officials that arrived on the Dawn 2 to witness the event. Members of the general public were also able to visit the aircraft and obtain information about the airplane’s operations. Military air crews fly 10 state-of-the-art WC-130J aircraft directly into the core of tropical cyclones to gather data that is critical for forecasting a hurricane’s intensity and landfall. The data is sent in real time via satellite from the aircraft directly to the National Hurricane Center for analysis and use by hurricane forecasters.
During the 2014 Hurricane season, the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron flew 52 missions, including 13 investigative flights over the Atlantic for the National Hurricane Center. The Atlantic basin Hurricane season begins June 1, reports The Daily Herald.