Flight into Hurricane Norbert

By: Randy Bynon , 4:03 PM GMT on October 02, 2008

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I flew our first tasked mission into Hurricane Norbert today in eastern Pacific off the Mexican coast.

As we entered the storm the first time, the southern eyewall was actually a pretty bumpy ride.


Norbert wasn't as impressive in person as he was on satellite. It actually appeared that there was a concentric eyewall on our first pass with an outer eye of about 50 miles and an inner eye of 30 miles. The inner eyewall was falling apart as we made our pass.

You can see the clouds swirling both below and above the aircraft as we make our penetration through the eye.


By our second and final pass, the eyewall seemed better defined but still a rather thin and unimposing eyewall.


The pilots check their instruments and fly through the eye center as the AWRO takes pictures.


In the end, we found a weaker storm than NHC expected with only about 65 knots at the surface, 85 knots at flight level and a central pressure of 972MB.

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20. MNTornado
9:06 AM GMT on October 13, 2008
Wish I had your job.
I used to love flying when I could.
Never been in a hurricane hunter plane though. You get to see things that most of us never do or only in pictures. Stay safe.
Member Since: July 1, 2005 Posts: 160 Comments: 19329
19. Randy Bynon , Dropsonde SysOp/AVAPS PM
4:01 PM GMT on October 11, 2008
Quoting CybrTeddy:
Hey Randy! Did you fly into any Atlantic Major Canes this year?


Hmmm.. you know.. I tend to lose track but yes, I flew Bertha, Hanna, and Ike in the Atlantic basin, a couple of disturbances and a typhoon in the central Pacific basin, and one hurricane in the eastern Pacific basin. I've also flown a few buoy missions. It's been a busy year.
Member Since: July 17, 2001 Posts: 190 Comments: 2012
18. CybrTeddy
3:52 PM GMT on October 11, 2008
Hey Randy! Did you fly into any Atlantic Major Canes this year?
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24938
17. Randy Bynon , Dropsonde SysOp/AVAPS PM
3:50 PM GMT on October 11, 2008
Quoting lawntonlookers:
Thanks for the pictures on Norbert. I was trying to watch your flight on Google Earth, but once your flight got near San Luis Potosi, MX, The map stoped plotting. Then on the way back, it started picking up the flight again. It is probably because it is for RECON in the Atlantic, and not in the Pacific.


You are correct. Because we switched basins, the reports fell under a different header so the automated system didn't pick them up.

Member Since: July 17, 2001 Posts: 190 Comments: 2012
16. lawntonlookers
12:15 PM GMT on October 10, 2008
Thanks for the pictures on Norbert. I was trying to watch your flight on Google Earth, but once your flight got near San Luis Potosi, MX, The map stoped plotting. Then on the way back, it started picking up the flight again. It is probably because it is for RECON in the Atlantic, and not in the Pacific.
Member Since: March 22, 2006 Posts: 9 Comments: 1570
15. Raysfan70
11:56 AM GMT on October 10, 2008
Good Morning {{Randy}}!
Glad to see your back on the ground safely.

Thanks for pictures.

Have a Great Day!
Member Since: July 28, 2005 Posts: 138 Comments: 57354
14. Randy Bynon , Dropsonde SysOp/AVAPS PM
9:33 PM GMT on October 08, 2008
Quoting lawntonlookers:


Have a safe flight and maybe some pictures. Looks like a 2000 mile flight just to get there.


Yea.. it'll be a lot droning through clear skies to get there. That's what storm flights are sometimes.. hours of boredom punctuated by moments of excitement. :-) And this one looks like it could be exciting!
Member Since: July 17, 2001 Posts: 190 Comments: 2012
13. lawntonlookers
7:45 PM GMT on October 08, 2008
Quoting LRandyB:
I'm on the schedule to fly Norbert all day tomorrow. I'll try to get some good pictures to bring back!


Have a safe flight and maybe some pictures. Looks like a 2000 mile flight just to get there.
Member Since: March 22, 2006 Posts: 9 Comments: 1570
12. code1
7:11 PM GMT on October 08, 2008
That will be nice to see. Alaska this winter, or do you get a winter off? I'm thinking snow would be nice for once.
Member Since: September 18, 2005 Posts: 66 Comments: 13872
11. Randy Bynon , Dropsonde SysOp/AVAPS PM
7:09 PM GMT on October 08, 2008
I'm on the schedule to fly Norbert all day tomorrow. I'll try to get some good pictures to bring back!
Member Since: July 17, 2001 Posts: 190 Comments: 2012
9. Randy Bynon , Dropsonde SysOp/AVAPS PM
1:40 AM GMT on October 07, 2008
Quoting code1:
You home? Or were you on the hurry up and go flight?


No, I'm home. They called me for the hurry up and go flight but I couldn't make it.
Member Since: July 17, 2001 Posts: 190 Comments: 2012
8. code1
11:14 PM GMT on October 06, 2008
You home? Or were you on the hurry up and go flight?
Member Since: September 18, 2005 Posts: 66 Comments: 13872
7. seflagamma
3:13 PM GMT on October 04, 2008
Hi Randy,

Hope you had a great time on your much deserved vacation!

Just stopping by to say Hello and wish you a great weekend!

Gams
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 305 Comments: 41020
6. palmettobug53
3:05 AM GMT on October 04, 2008
Welcome back, Randy... really did enjoy the pix. I had Egyptian fever when I was a kid (still do) and couldn't wait for each month's Nat'l Geo to arrive, in hopes that there would be something about tombs, artifacts, King Tut, temples, etc. Or something about Dr. Leakey and Olduvai Gorge. One or the other.

Since you were there, you might find the Theban Mapping Project site interesting.


Looking forward to our next lesson.
Member Since: October 7, 2005 Posts: 245 Comments: 25971
5. sciteach22
2:58 AM GMT on October 04, 2008
Thanks for the update. Even though the teacher brain knows the tropical events are on the downturn along the TX Gulf Coast, we're still a little "gunshy" here in Houston. BTW-Thanks to everyone for the Ike support. School is getting started again in Galveston next week. Lots of debris everywhere in Houston/Galveston/Bolivar, but at least power and A/C are mostly restored. Plus beautiful weather lately!
4. cgableshurrycanegal
11:07 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
Thx Randy - welcome back - enjoyed the pix

Still too warm and humid here to open windows...
I'm so jealous!!!
Member Since: July 12, 2005 Posts: 24 Comments: 212
3. Raysfan70
4:57 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
Thanks for the update Randy.

Skye I agree. Enjoying the out doors with the windows opened.
Member Since: July 28, 2005 Posts: 138 Comments: 57354
2. Randy Bynon , Dropsonde SysOp/AVAPS PM
3:23 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
Yes.. almost feels like a nice fall day here too!!!
Member Since: July 17, 2001 Posts: 190 Comments: 2012
1. Skyepony (Mod)
2:35 PM GMT on October 03, 2008
Enjoying the "orange" air here. It's not even 80!
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 292 Comments: 41042

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About LRandyB

I was an AF aviation weather forecaster for 12 years, then 15 years as a dropsonde systems operator with the AF Reserve Hurricane Hunters.

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