Drones Redefine Hurricane Hunting: Breaking Records and Saving Lives
Hurricanes, with their immense power and destruction, have long fascinated and threatened us. Traditional ways of studying them, however, can be perilous. Enter the drones.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is making waves, not only by using drones for hurricane analysis but also by breaking world records in the process.
In a daring venture last September, NOAA pilots steered their P-3 crewed aircraft straight into the ferocious Hurricane Ian. At the time, it had intensified into a Category 5 tempest, looming ominously off Florida’s Gulf Coast.
The pinnacle of this flight was when a 27-pound drone was set loose into the hurricane’s turbulent eye. Surprisingly, even when conditions turned too treacherous for the P-3, the drone held its course.
Joseph Cione, a prominent member of that flight team, recounted, “We were shook so hard and so violently that we had to make sure the integrity of the crewed aircraft was there, so we left the…