Pat Shingleton: "The 1st Hurricane Hunter"
As we enter the third month of Hurricane Season ’09, here’s an anniversary item that appeared in a previous Weather News. On this date in 1943 and for the first time in aviation and meteorological history, Col. Joe Duckworth and Lt. Ralph O'Hair took off from Bryan Field near Galveston and flew into a hurricane. Flying blindly through storms, turbulence, downdrafts and updrafts, their single-engine, A-6 trainer broke through the eye wall and enteried the calm center of the storm. The only way out was back through the storm. Bumped and bruised, the pilots exited the hurricahne and landed safely at Bryan Field. The team then refueled collected weather officer Lt. William Jones-Burdick and flew back into the storm. This flight was the first to gather meteorological data from a plane flying inside a hurricane.