Mission Summary
20161008I1 Aircraft 43RF
Hurricane Matthew

Aircraft Crew (43RF)
Aircraft CommanderScott Price
Co-pilotPat Didier
Co-pilotDanny Rees
NavigatorPete Seigel
Flight EngineerPaul Darby
Flight EngineerKen Heystek
Flight DirectorIan Sears
Data TechnicianTerry Lynch
Data TechnicianDale Carpenter
Dropsonde OperatorMike Mascaro
Dropsonde OperatorTodd Richards

Scientific Crew (43RF)
LPSFrank MarksHRD
RadarHui ChristophersenHRD
DropsondesGhassan AlakaHRD
ObserverJoe SappUMass
ObserverJim BrewerUMass
ObserverMike PerezUMass
GuestAlex DesrosierAOC intern
MediaBucky McMahonfreelance

Scientific Crew (Ground)
RadarJohn GamacheHRD

Mission Plan :

Proposed flight track

Final flight track

Mission priority was to provide tail Doppler radar (TDR) observations for initializing the operational HWRF (see Proposed flight track). If possible we also wished to accomplish:

  1. IWRAP sampling in high wind light rain situations
  2. Coastal survey from Savannah, GA to Charleston, SC with dropsondes near both cities if possible
  3. Potential landfall offshore intense convection module if possible

Prepared by Hurricane Research Division
Prepared by the Hurricane Research Division File: current1.ftk
October 08, 2016 10:00:00 AM
Aircraft: N43RF
Proposed takeoff: 7/0600Z
deg min deg min n mi/deg hr:min
1S29 5780 18 105/1801:32
2S32 4280 18 60/0002:16
3S31 4281 28 60/2702:40
4S31 4278 15 105/0903:24
5S32 5778 50 105/0453:46
6S30 2881 44 105/2254:43
7S30 2878 52 105/1355:23
8S32 2581 08 60/3156:07
Mission Summary :

Take off Landing
MacDill AFB, FL 05:55 UTC MacDill AFB, FL 13:15 UTC

Hurricane Matthew's north eyewall was onshore near Hilton Head, SC when we arrived necessitating a change in planned flight track. We abandoned attempting to pass to the north and northwest of the center removing points 2, 3, and 8 from the pattern. We flew from the IP to the center and then to point 5 measuring flight level winds exceeding 100 kts just northeast of the center. We then attempted a coastal survey from point 5 to just west of the center turning very close to Savannah passing through 95+ kt flight level winds in the NE portion of the eyewall, just offshore. We then proceeded to point 7, downwind to point 4 and back into the center to complete the first TDR survey for HWRF initialization. Then we performed to IWRAP legs back and forth to the northeast of the center through the radius of maximum winds. Unfortunately, by this time the peak winds had decreased below 90 kts once the north eyewall moved over the shoreline, likely as a result of increased friction overland. During the two legs we observed a large convective blow up in the north eyewall as it passed over Charleston, SC, effectively accomplishing a very interesting convective burst module over the 45 minutes it took to finish the IWRAP legs.

Having noticed that hurricane force winds extended well to the east of the center we flew a 120 nm leg east southeast of the center and then proceeded to go downwind attempting to intercept intense convective rainbands seen on the WSR-88D network radar hitting the coast between Myrtle Beach, SC and Wilmington , NC. We were able to sample two very intense convective bands with large low-level helicity just east of Myrtle Beach with the TDR and we deployed a dropsonde to acquire thermodynamic information of this convective environment (CAPE). Following that we proceeded back to the center and outbound to the south southwest to complete the last TDR mapping for HWRF initialization (see Final flight track below)

Final flight track


The mission was extremely successful given the proximity of the storm to the coast. We were able to accomplish all the objectives we set out to do, and managed to serendipitously get a convective burst module in a convective even as the north eyewall moved ashore near Charleston, SC.

Problems :

AOC repaired the TDR motor which burned out during the previous mission and we had zero problems with it. Fantastic work by Dana Naeher and Bobbie Peak staying after their mission to insure we were ready to go with the primary objective.

Only problem was an early launch detect on one dropsonde.

Mission Data :

Expendables used in mission
GPS sondes10
Doppler analyses completed4

Final flight track

Plot of raw High Density Obs

Plot of raw Flight Level winds

Plot of raw SFMR winds

Flight track

Temperature and Moisture

Wind and Atlitude

LPS's log | Radar Scientist's log | Dropsonde Scientist's log

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

Page last updated May 1, 2017
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