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Utility Navigation

Aircraft Operations

Frequently Asked Questions

Result Filters

Question

Why aren't NOAA's Hurricane Hunter planes torn apart in storm?

Answer

Planes are generally not destroyed by strong winds while in flight. Airliners routinely fly in jet streams with winds exceeding 150 mph over the U.S. during the winter. It's the shear, or sudden change in horizontal or vertical winds, that can destroy an aircraft, or cause its loss of control. That's why NOAA's Hurricane Hunter aircraft don't fly through tornadoes. In a like manner, NOAA pilots and crew routinely (but never casually) fly in the high-wind environment of the hurricane and don't fear it tearing the plane apart. However, they are always monitoring for "hot spots" of severe weather and shear that they can often identify on radar and avoid if it's too severe.

Question

How do I become a NOAA Corps aviator?

Answer

 The NOAA Corps has three primary annual competitive selection boards for acquiring aviators:

    1. Inter-Service Transfer (IST).  Officers commission directly into the NOAA Corps from their prior uniformed service agency. Depending on the aviator's aircraft history and FAA (equivalent) qualifications, they may be selected to operate any aircraft in the fleet.
    2. Basic Officer Training Course (BOTC).  The NOAA Corps may select pilots immediately upon their completion of BOTC to report directly to aviation training. These selects will typically begin their NOAA aviation career on our Twin Otter aircraft.
    3. Fleet-to-Aviation. A presently serving mariner (one who did not get selected at BOTC or has decided to transition to aviation at a later period in their career) may compete for a pilot position via Fleet-to-Aviation Selection Board. These selects will typically begin their NOAA aviation career on our Twin Otter aircraft.
Officers that hold less than a Commercial Multi Engine Land (MEL) Pilot Certificate-Instrument Rating will attend Flight Training. ISTs are generally selected because they hold these credentials and typically should not have to attend Flight Training. If an officer holds a Commercial MEL Pilot Certificate-Instrument Rating or greater, any follow-on training requirements will be coordinated by the NOAA Aircraft Operations Center Training Section. For any aviation specific questions, please contact the Aircraft Operations Center at AOC.ChiefAdmin@noaa.gov.

 

You are here: http://www.omao.noaa.gov/learn/aircraft-operations/about/frequently-asked-questions
Reviewed: August 7, 2015. Contact us with page issues.

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