Chief Scientist: Watson/Ziegler Flight Director: Damiano Doppler Radar: Shepherd/Atkins Pilots: Tichnor/Tennesen Kennedy Cloud Physics: Jacobs Data Technician: Pradas Observer: Martin Systems Engineer: Lynch Observer: OKC firefighters Media: Irish Air Letters (2) Takeoff Time: 1908 UTC Landing Time: 0145 UTC Official Mission Duration: 6.9 hrs Number of Data Tapes Used: Radar: 3 Cloud Physics: 1 Video: 2
Data Systems Log
Radar Data System Log Time On(UTC) Time Off(UTC) Comments Tape #1 1942 Start LF only 2027 Start TA 2058 Radar down Tape #2 2105 Start radar REC 2149 Radar stopped Tape #3 2209 Radar REC 0128 Radar Off Suggestion made by Lynch to slow tail to 9 RPM Cloud Physics Log Time On(UTC) Time Off(UTC) Comments 2024 0050 Recycle tape when checked
Takeoff was at 1908 UTC; descended to 1000' AGL southwest of Childress, TX and flew westward along 34 N to near Muleshoe, TX. We then proceeded southward to 33 45' N; then eastward to just north of Lubbock. Along these tracks, winds gradually shifted from east to southeast and finally, from the south at 20-30 kts the farther westward we went.
At 2040 UTC, we proceeded northbound to setup convective patterns on a large cell 24 nm northeast of Plainview, TX. We worked the cell with mainly east-west (6) tracks along the south side of the echo. We had great difficulty staying with the main cells as they tracked eastnortheast and new growth developed along the southern flank. The ground teams reach the storms at approximately 2130 UTC. The radars malfunction several times. We were probably locked out by intervening convection while the storm was tornadic between 2200 and 2230 UTC. It appeared that we had 'too much of a good thing', i.e., too many 'weak echo vaults', too much new growth on the southern flank. All in all, we made 20 Doppler passes on 4 sets of supercells. By 0000 UTC, convection appeared to redevelop as our area became smaller and smaller as convection closed in on us. Using classic chasers term, we were caught in the 'bears cage'. At 0040 UTC, Phil Kennedy (pilot) asked Barry Damiano, the flight director, 'What's the plan?' We escaped to the south through weaker convection and lowering anvil precipitation. We continued southeast, climbing to FL240, remaining in anvil until our descent into OKC. We discharged several times, even at -14C. Landing was at 0145 UTC. It was a very bumpy flight with moderate turbulence for more than half the flight.
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