Mission Summary
20160803I2 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
RadarGus AlakaHRD
ObserverErin DaughertyHRD
ObserverSandy DelgadoNHC
Guest DesRosiers

Scientific Crew (Ground)
RadarPaul ReasorHRD

Figure 1. TS Earl in relation to DL flow

Figure 2. TS Earl in reltation to shear

Mission Plan :

The mission is to conduct a TDR experiment into Tropical Storm Earl, with a secondary goal of collecting DWL observations. The system is located off the coast of Belize and moving west at about 8 knots (Figure 1). It is located between a gradient of westerly shear with 5 knots to its west ranging to ~20 knots on the eastern side (Figure 2). Satellite presentation shows increased convection in all quadrants indicating a possible strengthening of the storm.

Track guidance agree that Earl will continue to travel west until making landfall in Belize. The majority of models suggest that Earl will maintain its strong tropical storm strength, however a few forecast bring it up to a Category 1 hurricane (Figure 3).

Figure 3. TS Earl forecast intensity

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

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

Prepared by the Hurricane Research Division
August 2, 2016
Aircraft: N43RF
Proposed takeoff: 03/1800Z
deg min deg min n mi/deg hr:min
1S18 4387 00 85/0003:13
2S16 0887 00 70/1803:52
3S16 3585 43 85/1204:13
4S17 4387 45 50/3004:47
5S16 4388 03 70/2405:04
6S18 0185 43 85/0605:43
7 22 0085 066:44

Mission Summary :

Take off Landing
MacDill AFB, FL 17:49 UTC MacDill AFB, FL 01:07 UTC

A butterfly pattern was flown, however the IP was shifted to the NW quadrant (Figure 4b). Upon completing the first cross section, the downwind leg arched between the eyewall and a newly forming rainband up to the NE quadrant (shown in a lower fuselage radar image in Figure 5). This was a relatively cloud free, precipitation free area making it ideal for the DWL and close enough to the areas of precipitation to collect TDR observations. The EP was to the north of the storm. This flight was responsible for upgrading Earl to a category 1 hurricane. The strongest surface and flight level winds were located in the NNW. Radar composites show increased convection, especially in the eastern portion of the storm, with a more vertically aligned vortex (Figure 5).

The mission was completed at 0107Z with a recovery at MacDill airport. A total of 14 GPS sondes were dropped.

Figure 5. TS Earl on LF radar

Mission Evaluation:

The GPS/INS initialized properly on the DWL during this mission. DWL observations were captured en route to Earl and within Earl. Within the storm, the DWL collected wind profiles both above and below the plane (2 conical scans downward, 1 upward). A calibration flight over the everglades was not performed due to storms in the targeted area.

It was hypothesized that the DWL caused the plane oscillations in the pervious afternoon flight and tests were conducted. The plane was flown at a similar speed and altitude and the DWL was positioned similarly to the day before. While the oscillations as they occurred did not repeat themselves, smaller brief oscillation did occur. It was recommended that the DWL not be place in a forward facing position during takeoff and ascent.

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

Problems :

No problems were encountered on this flight.

Lisa Bucci
October 18, 2016

Mission Data :

LPS log | Radar log | DWL log | Dropsonde log
Flight Director's log | Flight Director's manifest | NetCDF data | serial data | 1 second data | Error Summary

Final flight track

Final flight track detail

Flight track

Flight track detail

Temperature and Moisture

Wind and Atlitude

Plot of raw High Density Obs

Page last updated Nov. 10, 2016
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