Hurricane Hunter Aircraft Experiences Mid Air Emergency
Man will never control nature, especially when nature is coming at us in the form of a hurricane. As one of the most powerful forces of nature on Earth, we can't hope to steer a hurricane, we can only hope to understand the phenomenon and become more accurate in our predictions concerning these large and deadly storms.
There has been a major chink exposed in our nation's hurricane forecasting armor. A Gulfstream Jet used to fly in and out of tropical systems has once again failed in the course of a mission. That makes the third such failure in the past eight days. This is not good.
Monday a Hurricane Hunter crew was flying into Tropical Storm Maria when a seal around one of the aircraft's doors was compromised. The mission was aborted and the crew returned to their base wearing oxygen masks.
There is legislation that requires NOAA to maintain two of these specialized aircraft in the event that one of them becomes inoperable. There is no second aircraft. That's a problem that could cost lives since data recovered by these aircraft help increase forecast accuracy by as much as 20%.
An investigation has been launched into the maintenance records of this aircraft and possibly the maintenance records of the other planes used in Hurricane Hunter missions.