Wednesday, October 26, 2011

NOAA P-3 Program Update

Cmdr. (sel.) Devin Brakob, the US National Oceanic and Atmosheric Adminstration (NOAA) deputy chief of maintenance and a P-3 navigator, is our next speaker. He opened with news clip of a NOAA mission into a hurricane.

During the last fiscal year, the NOAA P-3 crews had three major projects: studying large winter storms from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada; earth gravitation studies from Fairbanks, Alaska; and normal hurricane season (which in 2011 has been 11 tropical storms and four named hurricanes).

During Hurricane Irene in August 2011, the NOAA crews were deployed for five days, flew eight missions, launched 200 dropsondes, and made 26 eyewall pentrations. The proximity to the east coast of the US allowed them to fly a number of important people, which in turn,

NOAA falls under the US Department of Commerce. The P-3s are operated by the Office of Marine and Aviation Operations.

NOAA Service Life Assessment Program results indicate that the NOAA will lose a total of two aircraft between 2019 and 2020. NOAA is exploring several options to sustain these aircraft, including rewinging the aircraft. A follow-on platform study to the current P-3s is looking at a C-130, unmanned aerial systems, or satellites.

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