The US Air Force’s Hurricane Hunter aircraft landed at Providenciales International Airport on Thursday as part of the 2017 hurricane awareness tour in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Aptly named the Hurricane Hunter, the C-130J Super Hercules aircraft is one of ten assigned to the US Air Force’s 53d Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, that is used to penetrate tropical cyclones.
Based at Keesler AFB in Mississippi, the aircraft carries a minimum crew of five on its aerial weather reconnaissance missions and supports the National Hurricane Center in collecting pertinent data of impending storms.
An average weather reconnaissance mission lasts 11 hours, covering almost 3,500 miles collecting and reporting weather data as often as every minute.
Visiting with the Hurricane Hunter crew was Director of the National Hurricane Center, Dr. Richard Knabb who encouraged everyone to prepare in advance for the next hurricane season which starts on June 1st.
On hand to visit the aircraft were the Governor Dr. John Freeman, representatives from the Turks and Caicos Islands Government, airport employees and students from several schools across the island.
The aircraft penetrates hurricanes at an altitude of about 10,000 feet to collect meteorological data in the eye of the storm, making it possible to give advance warnings and increase the accuracy of hurricane predictions.