How are airplanes able to fly into hurricanes to study them?


I’ve been seeing articles and videos about the NOAA “hurricane hunters” who flew into Ian to study it. How is it possible to fly in those conditions?

In: 3

4 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

The same way you fly normally. They know the demands of flying in a storm and the stresses it puts on the plane, and can engineer around them. Very few things are beyond our reach.

Anonymous 0 Comments

They do NOT actually fly *into* the hurricane. They fly over it. My FIL did this in the USAF.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It’s really no different than any airliner that flies with or against the jet stream. Jet stream wind speeds regularly exceed 100mph, and airlines handle it just fine. The air moves as a fluid, and the plane simply moves with it. Sure, it’s bumpy, but the airplane can handle it perfectly safely.

My next door neighbor was a P3 flight engineer in the Navy Hurricane Hunters after Vietnam. He’s told me a lot of his experiences. They most certainly were flying through hurricanes, even 50 years ago in propeller driven aircraft.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Almost all weather exists in the lowest layer of the atmosphere called the troposphere. Above that is the stratosphere. Storms, even huge violent storms don’t really extend into the stratosphere, (thunder storms anvil shape comes from them spreading out along the stratosphere border) so while the air above the hurricane can be pretty turbulent, it’s not like the storm. Jets cruise through the stratosphere so they can fly over the hurricane to study them.