Hawaii hasn’t endured a hurricane threat since 1992, but this week the islands stared down not one but two major storms.
Hurricane Iselle was downgraded to a tropical storm as it hit the Big Island, the Associated Press reported. A trailing storm, Julio, picked up steam, however.
For decades, military aviators have been tempting fate by flying through these massive storms at sea. Their weapon of choice is the Lockheed WC-130.
Nicknamed the “Hurricane Hunter,” the WC-130 entered service in 1962.
The 4-engine turboprop is based on the C-130 Hercules, a legendary U.S. military aircraft that’s been taking to the skies since the 1950s. The current version costs almost $US50 million.
The WC-130 is flown by the U.S. Air Force’s 53d Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, based at Keesler Air Force Base in the seacoast city of Biloxi, Mississippi.
Just like their aircraft, the members of the 53rd are known as “Hurricane Hunters.”
To check out Iselle, they deployed to Pearl Harbor.
And operated out of the airfield there, Hickam Air Force Base.
The aircraft flies on 4 Rolls-Royce AE 2100D3 turboprop engines — an engine whose basic design has been around since the mid-1950s.
The Weather Channel made a reality series about the Hurricane Hunters that was broadcast in 2012.
And yes, the Hurricane Hunters do fly their WC-130s, packed with meteorological instruments, into the eye of hurricanes, where they drop special probes to determine how strong the storms are. Next up: Julio!
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