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Utility Navigation

  • Head-on view of a NOAA Lockheed WP-3D Orion in flight
    Photo: NOAA

    Hurricane Hunters!

    Learn how NOAA aircraft collect data vital for hurricane forecasts and research

  • NOAA DHC-6 Twin Otter on the ramp
    Photo: Ens. Billy Bonner / NOAA

    Eyes in the Sky

    NOAA's Twin Otters fly low and slow for science

  • NOAA King Air 350 CER prepares for takeoff
    Photo: David Hall / NOAA

    King of the Road

    NOAA's King Air maps shoreline changes, monitors flooding and more

  • NOAA's Gulfstream IV-SP Taking Off from Lakeland Linder Regional Airport
    Photo: Lt. Kevin Doremus / NOAA


    Learn about NOAA's unique Gulfstream IV-SP aircraft

Aircraft Operations

NOAA operates a fleet of highly specialized aircraft to study the ocean, coasts and the atmosphere.


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Aircraft Operations

NOAA provides a wide range of specialized airborne environmental data collection capabilities vital to understanding the Earth, conserving and managing coastal and marine resources, and protecting lives and property.

NOAA’s fleet of 10 manned aircraft is operated, managed and maintained by NOAA’s Aircraft Operations Center (AOC), part of NOAA's Office of Marine and Aviation Operations. Located at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Lakeland, Florida, AOC serves as the main base for OMAO’s aircraft fleet and provides capable, mission-ready aircraft and professional crews to the scientific community. AOC is committed to the safe, efficient and economical use of NOAA aircraft and has more than four decades of experience developing, coordinating and successfully and safely conducting airborne environmental data gathering missions.

The agency’s two Lockheed WP-3D Orionhurricane hunter" aircraft, together with NOAA's Gulfstream IV-SP, significantly enhance our understanding of hurricanes and improve the accuracy of tropical cyclone forecasts. Uniquely equipped with tail Doppler radar and the ability to deploy weather data-gathering probes in flight, these highly capable and versatile aircraft also support atmospheric and air chemistry studies.

NOAA's light aircraft also play a vital role in monitoring our environment. Operating nationwide, NOAA’s Beechcraft King Air, Gulfstream Jet Prop Commander and De Havilland Twin Otter aircraft support marine mammal population studies, shoreline change assessments, water resource and snow surveys, air chemistry studies, remote sensing projects, and emergency response. NOAA also operates uncrewed aircraft systems used to observe marine life, seabirds and their habitat.

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Reviewed: November 10, 2021. Contact us with page issues.

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