World

May 9, 2013

Airmen weather Bagram

Tags:
Story and Photos by Staff Sgt. David Dobrydney
455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
DT_pict1
Senior Airman Zachary Sura, 455th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron weather forecaster, uses a handheld weather tracker on Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, May 1. The handheld tracker measures temperature, dew point and other meteorological data in the event the main weather radar system is unavailable.

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — No one can control the weather, but the 455th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron weather flight makes a great effort to control its effect on operations here.

The weather flight is responsible for providing mission execution forecasts to the various flying squadrons on base and resource protection through weather watches and warnings.

“Our mission is to be eyes forward,” said Capt. Thaddeus Fridgen, 455th EOSS weather flight commander, deployed from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. “We provide the busiest single runway in the Air Force with accurate and timely weather information.”

The weather flight has been very successful, providing 3,000 mission and planning forecasts for five different airframes and transmitting 668 weather observations with a 100 percent error-free rate in the month of April.

Recently, the 455th EOSS weather flight even assisted two NATO fighter aircraft that were diverted to Bagram. Their weather station was reporting severe conditions that could have kept the aircraft here for up to 36 hours, keeping them out of the fight. Tech. Sgt. Patricia Hurdle-Aguilera, 455th EOSS weather forecaster, deployed from Shaw AFB, S.C., was asked if there was a better course of action.

Working quickly, Hurdle-Aguilera looked at the available data and weather models and determined there was a small window of opportunity the following morning where the aircraft could leave much sooner. She briefed the pilots, and their return flight plan was amended to reflect the forecast. Sure enough, Hurdle-Aguilera’s work paid off and the NATO pilots departed safely after staying at Bagram only 10 hours.

Fridgen said that providing accurate weather information is crucial, whether it’s local or in another part of the country.

“It’s critical because there’s not much room for error,” he said. “If we’re off with our ceiling forecast or our thunderstorm forecast, that could drastically alter [a unit’s] flight plans and if they can’t get to where they need to go, it could put people in danger.”

Predicting weather in Afghanistan can be a complex undertaking as the terrain varies greatly from area to area. Fridgen compared it to places like Colorado.

“The terrain plays such a big [role] in how to forecast because you have to worry about how that affects the wind and thunderstorm development,” he said.

However, the weather flight has several tools at its disposal to overcome this challenge, from a portable Doppler radar on a tower just outside the weather office to three tactical meteorology sensors on the airfield itself. These portable weather stations can record several weather variables such as temperature, rainfall and dew point.

“We try to use these various tools to help us, because this is a data-sparse region,” Fridgen said, “It’s not like back in the States where there are tons of observing points and the National Weather Service has everything covered.”

Despite the challenges of terrain and infrastructure, Senior Airman Zachary Sura, 455th EOSS weather forecaster, deployed from Davis-Monthan AFB, said working in such a demanding environment can be rewarding when the products they provide enable a mission’s completion.

“It’s busier and more complex, but you can see the result of your work,” he said.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
(U.S. Air Force Photo by 2nd Lt. Lacey Roberts)

Arizona Airmen memorialize fallen Iraqi fighter pilot

Members of the Arizona Air National Guard’s 162nd Wing honored the life and memory of Iraqi Air Force Brig. Gen. Rasid Mohammed Sideeq Hasan during a memorial service here July 7. Hasan died June 24 after his F-16 Fighting Fa...
 
 

Deployed A-10s take to the skies

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Ruano) An aircraft maintainer assigned to the 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron inspects the oil levels of an A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft engine during a theater security package deployment to Lask Air Base, Poland, July 13. The U.S. and Polish air forces will conduct training aimed at...
 
 

Airmen leverage TFI concept

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. – Thirty-eight service members, including individuals from the 944th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal section, participated in a Battlefield Forensics training course here at the end of June. Together, Senior Master Sgt. Stephen Hunter, 944th Civil Engineer Squadron EOD program manager and Joshua Nason, General Dynamics Information Technology ...
 

 

Celebration and education; Equal Opportunity

  In 1948, Ester Blake became the first enlisted female in the U.S. Air Force, pictures were still black and white, and families gathered around radios for the evening news. Since then, the U.S. Air Force has gone through many changes. The Davis-Monthan Equal Opportunity office specializes in making sure that everyone is treated equally...
 
 
DoD

Final rule puts more teeth into Military Lending Act

  WASHINGTON – The Defense Department today closed loopholes to protect U.S. men and women in uniform from predatory lending practices, President Barack Obama said this morning at the 116th Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The heightened level of financial and consumer-rights protection against unscrupulous practices, called the final rule of...
 
 

AF continues to work with DOD, OPM on cybersecurity incident

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Air Force maintains its commitment to protect personal information from cyber threats by continuing efforts with the Defense Department and the Office of Personnel Management to assist those impacted by the recent cyber incident involving federal background investigation data. OPM and an interagency response team, including investigators from the FBI and...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>