Mission Summary
20160802I1 Aircraft 43RF
Tropical Storm Earl

Aircraft Crew (43RF)
Aircraft CommanderChris Kerns
Co-pilotAdam Abitbol
Co-pilotRobert Mitchell
Flight EngineerKen Heystek
NavigatorPete Siegel
Flight DirectorIan Sears
Flight DirectorJess Williams
Data TechnicianDana Naeher
Dropsonde OperatorBobby Peek
Dropsonde OperatorSteven Paul
Scientific Crew (43RF)
LPSLisa BucciHRD
DropsondeKathryn SellwoodHRD
RdarGus AlakaHRD
ObserverErin DaughertyHRD
ObserverSandy DelgadoNHC

Proposed NOAA 43 track

Mission Plan :

The mission is to conduct a at DWL experiment into Tropical Storm Earl. The system is currently located in the southwestern Caribbean and moving west at about 15 knots (Figure 1). It is embedded in ~20 knots of northwesterly shear (Figure 2) causing an asymmetric convection pattern.

Figure 1.T.S. Earl in DLM flow

Figure 2.T.S. Earl in vertical shear

Track guidance suggests that Earl will continue to travel west until making landfall in Belize. Models indicate it will maintain its tropical storm intensity- possibly intensifying slightly during the mission (Figure 3).

Given the long transit time, the plan calls for a TDR pattern with an initial point (IP) in the north quadrant. A figure-4 pattern will be flown and completed in the west quadrant (Figure 4a). Upon completion of the mission, the plane will return to MacDill AFB.

Figure 3.Forecast intensity for Earl

Figure 4a.Proposed flight track
Figure 4b.Actual flight track

Prepared by the Hurricane Research Division
August 2, 2016
Aircraft: N43RF
Proposed takeoff: 02/1800Z
deg min deg min n mi/deg hr:min
1 22 0085 061:36
2S17 1581 48 75/0003:43
3S14 4581 48 75/1804:21
4S16 0080 30 75/0904:49
5S16 0083 06 75/2705:27
6 22 0085 067:02
Mission Summary :

Take off Landing
MacDill AFB, FL 18:04 UTC MacDill AFB, FL 01:27 UTC

A figure-4 pattern was flown as planned, finishing to the west of the storm. As forecasted, Earl continued to maintain its tropical storm intensity and asymmetric convection (Figure 4b). The strongest surface and flight level winds were located in the north. Radar composites show increased reflectivity in the southeastern quadrant of the storm, with a tilted vortex to the southeast reflecting the northwesterly shear (Figure 5).

The mission was completed at 01:27Z with a recovery at MacDill airport. A total of 9 GPS sondes were dropped.

Figure 5.Doppler wind analyses

Figure 6.Reflectivity and Wind Speed analyses

Mission Evaluation:

Though the GPS/INS failed to initialize on the DWL, the mission was completed successfully. Observations were captured en route to Earl and within Earl. Within the storm, the DWL collected wind profiles both above and below the plane (4 conical scans downward, 1 upward). The flight level navigation data will be used to post process the DWL data to completely remove the plane motion.

Two radar analyses were completed and transmitted. One sonde stopped transmitting at 946 mb and one drop had an early launch.

Problems :

The GPS/INS failed on the DWL failed to properly initialize prior to take off. To ensure the DWL observations were captured, the DWL operator manually entered the plane speed. A strong oscillation in the lateral plane motion occurred while ascending out of MacDill AFB. It was unknown what caused it and did not repeat itself.

Lisa Bucci
October 19, 2016

Mission Data :

LPS log | Radar log | DWL log | Dropsonde log

Flight Director's manifest | NetCDF data | 1 second data

Final flight track

Final flight track detail

Flight track

Flight track

Temperature and Moisture

Wind and Atlitude

Page last updated Nov. 10, 2016
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