Mission Summary
20020925I Aircraft 43RF
Tropical Storm Isidore Landfall and
Reconnaissance/ Ocean survey mission

Scientific Crew
Lead scientistJoe Cione
Workstation scientistPeter Dodge
AXBT scientistsEric Uhlhorn
SRA scientistEd Walsh (NASA)
Guest scientistDavid Nolan (RSMAS)
Aircraft Crew (43RF)
Cockpit CDR Phil Kenul
LCDR H Halverson
Navigator LCDR Carl Newman
Flight Director Barry Damiano
Engineer Jeff Smith
Data Tech Terry Lynch
Ray Tong
Elctronics Damon Sans Souci

Mission Briefing:

This final flight in Tropical Storm Isidore was to be a tasked mission for the Tropical Prediction Center. Joe Cione and Eric Uhlhorn came up to Tampa the day before in hopes of obtaining data to further validate the Stepped Frequency Micowave Radiometer (SFMR) surface wind speed estimates. This would be accomplished by flying over buoys and C-MAN stations at different altitudes, while also deploying AXBTs and GPS sondes. A flight plan was drawn up that would satisfy the operational requirements, accomplish the buoy overflights, and include one run along the coast to gahter landfall data near the wind towers and portable radars that were being deployed by various university groups.
The plan had to changed quite a bit when, at the pre-flight briefing, it was pointed out that the planned take off time would require us to head straight to the center in order for AOC to make the 00 UTC fix. The plan was amended accordingly with the help of Barry and Carl.

Mission Synopsis

NOAA 43 left MacDill Air Force Base at 2230 UTC, and descended to 10,000' at the IP at 2333 UTC. Isidore had a huge circulation, filling most of the Gulf, but the core had weakened after landfall in Mexico and the center was not that easy to find. Barry fixed the center at 27° 39' N, 90° 15' W at 0005 UTC. The plane continued a figure 4 pattern, passing thorugh the center again at 0114 UTC. From 0206 to to 0222 UTC we flew west along the coast, deployinmg sondes, most of which had no winds. We headed south to get the 0300 UTC fix. At 0351 UTC Richard Pasch called from TPC and requested that the P3 repeat the coastal pass, because the wind max appeared to be around Gulfport. We repeated the coastal run starting at 0502 UTC. Once again, most of the sondes had no winds. At 0614 UTC Barry declared the storm center was inland, near 29° and 90° 33'. We landed back at MacDill at 0759 UTC.

Mission Evaluation:

HRD was not able to accomplish many of the scientific objectives during this flight because of the changing nature of the operational mission. It was an excellent training opportunity for newer HRD personnel to get involved in the field program more directly. This just reinforced the need for HRD to be flexible when tagging along on tasked flights. Valuable radar and flight-level data were collected on the coastal runs, and if the GPS sonde winds can be recovered, they will also prove useful in further validation of the remote surface wind estimates.

One minute listing

Flight Data

Flight track detail

Temperature and Moisture

Wind and Atlitude

Flight track

Flight track ferry in

Flight track ferry out


There were numerous failures of the GPS sonde winds. These may be recovered in post-processing at AOC.


Barry Damiano, Carl Newman, and the flight crew tried to include our research objectives in the flight track whenever possible. Terry Lynch kept the radar running, and Jeff Smith, Ray Tong and Damon Sans Souci managed to keep up with our evolving plans for GPS sonde and AXBT drops.


Table 2
GPS Sondes
from John Gamache's sonde log
#Sonde IDtimeLat (°)Lon (°)Comments
198471516900055127.6790.25At circ center
201183800901464629.2588.20Near 42040
402291804602151430.0787.67No winds
accidentally teminated at 52 sec.
699392523102221930.0888.32Intermittent winds
no winds below 924 mb
702291806102305330.0089.05No winds
802294519102483228.9089.48No winds
901183802602504428.2089.64late winds
1002291805703074328.4590.65just N of center
1302173507805050230.1787.15Sonde ended at 850 mb
1402061526005105530.1587.67No winds
1502061529305132830.1387.88winds at 87 sec for ~20 sec
1601111505305183330.1388.38No winds
1702061529905263530.0889.02No winds
1802021522705580028.9390.98West of center
Winds may be recovered from the no-wind sondes in post processing.

Table 3
from Gamache sonde log
#LatLon Launch
529.2588.20014628.1Near 42040
628.9089.48024823.010 m depth
726.0789.930402-Near 42001

Table 4
Locations of mobile intruments deployed during the landfall
30° 14 87 41'FSU Portable Doppler Radar
30° 24'50.3" 89° 04'06.7" WEMITE 2 Gulfport airport
30° 24'50.3" 89° 04'06.7" UAH Profiler
30° 24'49.1" 89° 04'10.3" SBCCOM 10 m mesonet
30° 24'51.0" 89° 04'10.2" SBCCOM 10 m mesonet
30° 22'12.1" 89° 04'42.4" SBCCOM 3 m mesonet Gulfport Beach before move
30° 22'12.4" 89° 04'42.4" After move (moved due to surge threat)
29 42'50.4" 91° 20'08.8" 10 m mesonet Harry P. Williams Airport,
29 42'39.5" 91° 20'14.9" 3 m mesonet Patterson, LA
Some locations were supplied by the teams, others were read off of aeronautical chart CH-24.

TTU - Texas Tech University Wind Engineering
UAH - University of Albama/Huntsville
FSU - Florida State University

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