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.


 
 

 
RecordBraking_pict

D-M breaks deployment records

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz., — Since the beginning of 2015, 1,252 personnel and 596 short tons of cargo have been deployed out of D-M.  “This was the biggest cargo movement ever on this base, and the bigg...
 
 
AZDMV_pict

DMV services at Davis-Monthan

A Department of Motor Vehicles office is located here that is available to all who have base access. The DMV is located in building 4300 in the southeast Fifth Street and Madera Street across from the 355th Civil Engineer Squad...
 
 
BBB_pict

Beware of unauthorized sports tickets websites

Tucson, AZ – Better Business Bureau warns against purchasing sports tickets from unauthorized outlets. With the football season approaching sports fans might do anything to get their hands on tickets at a discounted price...
 

 

Legal Corner: Avoiding ‘bird-dogging’

 JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. — Scams aimed at taking advantage of U.S. military members are nothing new; however, one such scam, “bird-dogging,” has re-emerged as a threat to Service members’ financial security. Bird-dogging refers to the act of soliciting sales for a third party and is illegal both on and off base. One example occurs when a...
 
 
U.S. Army photo by Spc. Nikayla Shodeen

Women complete Swamp Phase, earn Army Ranger Tab

FORT BENNING, Ga.,— The U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence announced yesterday that 96 soldiers, including two women, met the standards of the Swamp Phase and will graduate from the Ranger Course Aug. 21. Ranger School ...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash

AF Senior leaders give State of the Air Force address

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James and Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Mark A. Welsh III held a State of the Air Force address at the Pentagon, Aug. 24. The first topic of discussion w...
 




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>