9-2-20. WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS

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  • 9-2-20. WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS

    TEAL and NOAA mission aircraft fly reconnaissance flights to gather meteorological data on winter storms, (NWSOP missions), hurricanes and tropical cyclones (NHOP missions). The routes and timing of these flights are determined by movement of the storm areas and not by traffic flows.

    1. When a dropsonde release time is received from a TEAL or NOAA mission aircraft, workload and priorities permitting, controllers must advise the mission aircraft of any traffic estimated to pass through the area of the drop at altitudes below that of the mission aircraft. This traffic advisory must include:
      1. Altitude.
      2. Direction of flight.
      3. ETA at the point closest to drop area (or at the fix/intersection where drop will occur).

      NOTE: A dropsonde is a 14-inch long cardboard cylinder about 2.75 inches in diameter, that weighs approximately 14 ounces (400 grams), and has a parachute attached. When released from the aircraft it will fall at a rate of approximately 2,500 feet per minute. Controllers should recognize that a dropsonde released at FL 310 will be a factor for traffic at FL 210 four minutes later. It is the aircraft commanders responsibility to delay release of dropsondes if traffic is a factor. Aircraft commanders will delay release of dropsondes based solely upon traffic as issued by ATC.

    2. When advised that an airborne TEAL or NOAA aircraft is requesting a clearance via CARCAH, issue the clearance in accordance with Chapter 4, IFR, Section 2, Clearances.
    3. If a TEAL or NOAA mission aircraft must be contacted but is out of VHF, UHF, and HF radio range, advise the supervisory traffic management coordinator-in-charge.
    4. Aircraft operations associated with a Weather Reconnaissance Area (WRA) must be conducted in accordance with the Memorandum of Agreement between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Aircraft Operations Center, U.S. Air Force Reserve Command 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, and the Federal Aviation Administration Air Traffic Organization in Support of the National Hurricane Operations Plan (FAA Order JO 7610.4, Appendix 3), and the associated letters of agreement.
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