Mission Summary
20080818H1 Aircraft 42RF
Fay reconnaissance flight 2008

Scientific Crew (42RF)
Lead ScientistSim Aberson
Dropsonde ScientistKathryn Sellwood

Flight Crew (42RF)
PilotsMark Nelson
Al Girimonte
Flight DirectorBarry Damiano
Flt. Eng.Greg Bast
Data TechBobby Peek
Elec. TechBill Olney
Chuck Rasko

Mission Plan :

A mission as Fay emerged from the Cuban coast moving northwestward. A butterfly pattern is planned, modified to make sure we do not fly within 12 nm of land (Cuba and Florida).

Mission Summary :

Take off Landing
MacDill AFB15:01 UTC Louis Armstrong Airport
New Orleans, LA
21:41 UTC

The pattern started with a northwest-southeast pass through the center, though the second leg was modified to go toward the east to stay offshore Cuba. An uneventful second pass from northeast to southwest was then completed. The third pass, south to north, was interesting in that there were two distinct wind speed maxima on the south side, though the northern one was clearly the center as it was concurrent with a wind direction shift (Fig. 1).

Figure 1: Flight-level wind speed showing multiple wind speed minima along south to north pass through the center of Fay.

A fourth pass, northwest to southeast, was then completed. As the northbound track began to the southeast of the center, Key West radar showed a strong rainband with embedded mesocyclones making landfall in the Florida Keys and Southwest Florida, and some tornado warnings were issued (Fig. 2). The flight track then went along the inside of the first band, then a right turned moved the plane between two bands along the inside of the second. A left turn up the southwestern Florida coast crossed the second band.

Figure 2: Base radar image from Key West showing cellular band with tornado warning in lower Keys and another band over mainland Monroe County that also spawned tornadoes.

Dropwindsondes were released at regular intervals near the bands, accomplishing two goals:

  1. to obtain data near possibly tornadic rainbands
  2. to obtain data in shallow water to compare with SFMR data obtained from the plane.
Four radar analyses were sent, one for each pass. Fifteen dropwindsondes were released, one had no winds and was not sent off the plane.

Problems :

No major problems were noted except for hotels in New Orleans.

Mission Data

1 second listing | NetCDF listing

Flight Data Plots

Flight track

Temperature and Moisture

Wind and Atlitude

Flight track detail

Page last updated September 18, 2008
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