Hurricane Experiments

Flight Preparedness

In 2006, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) determined that everyone flying on a NOAA aircraft or a NOAA-chartered aircraft — including the P3 or G4 airplanes typically used to study hurricanes — is required to have Aviation Safety Training. Members of the Rosenstiel School’s Upper Ocean Dynamics lab received classroom and pool training in early 2008 during a two-day pool/classroom course. Designed to teach flight participants about the physiological effects on the human body while flying in an airplane or pressurized cabin, attendees learned safety measures in the event of a crash, post-crash survival techniques and how to use the aircraft’s available equipment to survive and signal for help.

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Students learned how to pack a personal survival kit, and were given pool demonstrations before being offered the chance to practice with Winslow life rafts, HEEDS bottles, Switliks, and a Shallow Water Egress Trainer (SWET) chair.

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Jodi Brewster practices how to evacuate, upside-down, from her chair, simulating releasing a seat belt in the event of a water landing. The instructor in front of her (back to camera) is Eric Storrey (FAA) and the other person assisting is a NOAA crops officer LCDR Nancy Ash (NOAA/AOML).

The Aircraft Operations Center (AOC) of the NOAA Marine and Aviation Office is the source for flight materials and airplanes used in the UOD lab’s hurricane experiments. The airplanes of the AOC are flown in support of NOAA’s mission to promote global environmental assessment, prediction and stewardship of the Earth’s environment. NOAA’s aircraft operate throughout the United States and around the world; over open oceans, mountains, coastal wetlands, and Arctic pack ice. These versatile aircraft provide scientists with airborne platforms necessary to collect the environmental and geographic data essential to their research.

Training certification is good for five years. For more information on NOAA Aviation Safety and the Aviation Safety Policy, visit: