By David Toomey
In September 1955, army Lieutenant Commander Grover B. Windham and a workforce of 8 flew out of Guantanamo Bay into the attention of typhoon Janet - a regimen climate reconnaissance project from which they by no means back. within the wake of worldwide conflict II, the Air strength and the military came across new civilian arenas the place pilots might try their braveness and talent - climate reconnaissance was once certainly one of them. typhoon hunters flew into raging storms to gauge their power and are expecting their paths. with no the trendy expertise of the twenty first century they depended on rudimentary radar platforms to find the hurricane's eye and anticipated the float in their plane through taking a look at the windblown waves less than. Drawing from military records and interviews with individuals of the squadron and kin of the team, this booklet reconstructs the ill-fated undertaking, from preflight assessments to the instant in their ultimate transmission.
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Extra info for Stormchasers : the Hurricane Hunters and their fateful flight into Hurricane Janet
To be sure, Europe and the Mediterranean peoples knew fierce wind and storm—the Mediterranean sirocco, the North African simoom, the sharav and khamsin of Egypt and Israel. But their winds rarely reached velocities much greater than 50 miles an hour, enough to cause a person to seek shelter, but seldom an actual threat to life and limb. Storms fiercer than these were too rare to merit a generic name, and not surprisingly, the sacred texts of cultures that arose in these regions are silent on the subject of truly devastating storms.
Then, a set of resources managed well but managed imperfectly. An underestimation of wind speeds. An aircraft design that accounted for wing loads and stresses of so much and no more. Somehow, these explanations are likewise inadequate. Try again. Tighten the focus. Shrink the map’s borders until they frame only the southeastern part of the United States. Concentrate on a single thin line, beginning near Birmingham, Alabama, in 1921. A boy’s decision, at age seventeen, to enroll at Annapolis. Later, as a young man, to enter flight school and gain certification in flying multiengine aircraft.
Articles in popular magazines interviewed scientists who claimed that by the early 1960s, airplanes would seed the clouds, rain would turn deserts to lush cropland, and the winds themselves would be tamed. In the field, there was a similar sense that meteorology was about to enter a new era. The war had spurred great advances in aeronautics, and its end had left the United States with tremendous material resources, trained pilots, and new technologies. For the first time, it was possible to perform aerial reconnaissance of violent weather.