While most pilots try to avoid storms, one group of pilots - and their science partners - fly directly into storms in order to provide the National Hurricane Center with crucial forecast information.
Hurricane Hunter aircraft are flown directly into storms and potential storms in order to get on-location data that cannot otherwise be determined by satellite, buoys or distant surface observation stations.
NOAA's Lockheed WP-3D Orion Turboprop aircraft is one of those planes that will slice through a hurricane
"As a pilot, I was trained to fly to stay away from bad weather, and now that's my mission, to fly into bad weather," said Hurricane Hunter pilot Al Girimonte. "The plane itself is just a 1976 P3. It's not structurally enhanced at all. There's a lot of scientific gear in the back that makes it special, but up here, it's pretty much an airliner."
Once inside the storm, the crew releases probes known as dropsondes. The devices measure the storm's strength. The data is then sent back to the Hurricane Center in Miami.