The 6 lost Hurricane Hunter missions, Part II: Typhoon Wilma, 1952

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:58 PM GMT on June 26, 2009

Share this Blog
5
+

Dr. Masters is on vacation this week, so we're posting some blogs he wrote before hitting the road.

The second Hurricane Hunter mission that didn't make it back was the only flight lost in a Category 5 storm. On October 26, 1952, an Air Force WB-29 aircraft knick-named "Typhoon Goon II" (44-69770), making a low-level penetration of Typhoon Wilma, went down 300 miles east of Leyte in the Philippines. The aircraft was attached to the 54th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron on Guam. The original "Typhoon Goon" was Aircraft 45-21838, which was stationed on Guam from January 1948 until December 1950, during which time she flew at least 25 typhoon missions. When Aircraft 770 arrived on Guam in January of 1951, she was given the name "Typhoon Goon II" to keep the tradition alive. The crew's last radio message indicated they were close to the eye and were attempting to make a low level fix. They reported that their radar altimeter had "burned out", and that they were going to fly in anyway, using just pressure altimetry to maintain the proper altitude. This was an extremely dangerous prospect, since Wilma was a Category 5 super typhoon with 185 mph winds at the time of penetration, and had a very sharp change in pressure near the eye. If the plane was attempting to fly at a constant pressure altitude, the pilot would have been forced to perform a steep descent in the eyewall. It is likely the aircraft hit a strong downdraft that carried them into the sea, or that severe turbulence caused the aircraft to go out of control, with insufficient time for the pilot to recover. The ten men lost on the mission were:

Maj Sterling L. Harrell
Capt Donald M. Baird
Capt Frank J. Pollack
1Lt William D. Burchell
1Lt Clifton R. Knickmeyer
MSgt Edward H. Fontaine
A1C Alton B. Brewton
A1C William Colgan
A1C Anthony J. Fasullo
A3C Rodney E. Verrill


Figure 1. The Air Force WB-29 named Typhoon Goon II, lost in Super Typhoon Wilma on October 26, 1952. Image credit: Arthur R. "Ray" Brashear, Air Reconnaissance Weather Association.

Sources: Personal communication, Bernie Barris, Air Reconnaissance Weather Association; "The Fireballs, an Unofficial History", by Robert A. Mann; "Flying the Weather", by Otho Spencer, 1996; Stars and Stripes 30 Oct 1952 page 1; New York Times, 9 Nov 1952 45:5.

Jeff Masters

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 2117 - 2067

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43Blog Index

2117. Cavin Rawlins
9:50 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
Good Morning,

93L is dumping heavy rain across the Caymans and is now heading for the Western Tip of Cuba and the Yucatan. The system is now expected to emerge over the Gulf later tonight as a 1010 mb low. I will have a complete update.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
2116. tennisgirl08
6:57 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
Quoting hurricane2009:
ok folks to summarize

#1 There is no TD forming in this area within the next 12 hours, probably longer

#2 Early concensus says Eastern Gulf but that can change

#3 Looking at every click of the satellite loop will drive you crazy, go take a rest lol


I know an old post - but I genuinely disagree with #1 - i think we will skip code "red" and go straight to TD by tomorrow night.

I do not believe we can pinpoint a track with this system right now. Will become much clearer by Sunday night. I always take an average of the models - with regards to track.
Member Since: July 17, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1242
2115. wunderkidcayman
6:54 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
hello anyone on the blog
Member Since: June 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 9553
2114. TX2FL
6:53 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
new blog
Member Since: July 14, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 117
2113. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
6:11 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
AOI/INV/93L
MARK
17.8N/83.4W

convective refire detected nne of current and previous convective cycle




Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52248
2112. vortfix
6:09 AM GMT on June 27, 2009



TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
200 AM EDT SAT JUN 27 2009

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

1. SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS ASSOCIATED WITH A TROPICAL WAVE OVER THE
NORTHWESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA HAVE DECREASED DURING THE PAST SEVERAL
HOURS. SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM IS NOT ANTICIPATED
BEFORE IT REACHES THE YUCATAN PENINSULA LATER TODAY. HOWEVER...
ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS COULD BECOME FAVORABLE FOR SOME
DEVELOPMENT ONCE THE SYSTEM EMERGES INTO THE SOUTHERN GULF OF
MEXICO LATER TONIGHT OR SUNDAY. THERE IS A MEDIUM CHANCE...30 TO 50
PERCENT...OF THIS SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS. LOCALLY HEAVY RAINS ARE POSSIBLE OVER PORTIONS OF
WESTERN CUBA AND HONDURAS TODAY AND COULD SPREAD WESTWARD INTO
NORTHERN CENTRAL AMERICA AND THE YUCATAN PENINSULA DURING THE NEXT
DAY OR SO.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS.

$$
FORECASTER BLAKE
NNNN

2111. vortfix
6:07 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
I'll be back...with "Real Info"

2110. vortfix
6:02 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
Wow!

Great to see you Thel!

2108. scottsvb
6:01 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
This system isnt much right now and probably wont be until @ least later tomorrow if at all. Still giving this a 40% chance... no global model support outside of the GFS... HWRF has a feedback error...GFDL has nothing much..(but whos to say this run isnt right?) and well there is nothing on the Ukmet.. dont pay attention much to the CMC or Nogaps..they arent that reliable! So in conclusion.. this is short... just watch it... it doesnt look too well right now.....
Member Since: January 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1516
2107. scottsvb
5:57 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
Quoting pcbdragon:
TWC says no surface low, doesn't the 1009mb qualify?



you can have 999mb and it doesnt mean you have a low..but usually pressure that low will give ya a inward low pressure system... but generally 1005mbs will give a system a more defined low... if the system is large in size..1006-1010mb could be a very broad circulation or also if very small... just a vortex! Tornados have indivdual pressures to them...they are vortexs...they start @ the ground..not in the clouds..and work their way up...95% of the time!
Member Since: January 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1516
2106. pcbdragon
5:52 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
TWC says no surface low, doesn't the 1009mb qualify?
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 133
2104. Drakoen
5:45 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
Quoting jeffs713:

I was just looking at that, and I had to admit that I laughed. The HWRF takes a few clouds and spins it up into a cat 1 in less than 24 hours. Impressive.

The GFDL is a bit more realistic, not really developing a closed low until the system is in the southern GOM. I'm not quite sure what to make of the GFS, though. It has been all over the place so far.

IMO, with this system, I'm not really going to look at the models much until something actually gets rolling. If this is anything like last year, the models are going to have a rough time (especially the GFDL and HWRF) until a storm actually gets initialized.


The GFS is having trouble handling the approaching frontal boundary and the associated baroclinic environment. Basically having the low fuse and track within the boundary. We really need something better defined before we can worry about track.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29714
2102. hurricaneguy87
5:41 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
HWRF = lmao

Good to be back for another cane season!
2101. thelmores
5:40 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
Quoting TampaSpin:


Its very easy at night without visible to think a midlevel spin is a LowLevel spin...


Agreed...... nothing imminent, but interesting......

seeMs some mid level spin, with upper high trying to build...... I have seen stranger things happen, this definitely bears watching, particularly if the GFDL and HWRF are to be believed......



First squiggly lines of the year! LOL
Member Since: September 8, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3788
2099. jeffs713
5:38 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
Quoting Drakoen:
HWRF 00z has this thing at hurricane strength by tomorrow. NO way that is believable. I think the GFS and GFDL tracks are better suited. The HWRF is WAY too aggressive and should be discounted.

I was just looking at that, and I had to admit that I laughed. The HWRF takes a few clouds and spins it up into a cat 1 in less than 24 hours. Impressive.

The GFDL is a bit more realistic, not really developing a closed low until the system is in the southern GOM. I'm not quite sure what to make of the GFS, though. It has been all over the place so far.

IMO, with this system, I'm not really going to look at the models much until something actually gets rolling. If this is anything like last year, the models are going to have a rough time (especially the GFDL and HWRF) until a storm actually gets initialized.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5792
2098. natrwalkn
5:38 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
The latest model forecast tracks that are forecasting a turn to the NE and crossing Florida make sense to me. After Florida, the tracks roughly parallel the coast of the Carolinas.

North Carolina often has cold fronts that move in from the north, stall and die over the middle of the state this time of year. That's exactly what the local TV stations are forecasting for the next few days. The frontal boundary forecasted to die over our state also roughly parallels the coast, 100 to 200 miles inland.

Climatologically, it's awfully early for a significant storm in the Atlantic Basin. Rogue storms seem to be the norm rather than the exception over the last few years however.
Member Since: August 14, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 67
2097. RyanFSU
5:38 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
GFDL wasn't initialized too terribly well. Not sure what is up with the bogus. The inner nest never moved, so you basically have the GFDL with the GFS boundary conditions run at the coarser resolution. The output grids are at 1x1 degree for the big domain.
Member Since: February 13, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 308
2096. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
5:34 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
Quoting RyanFSU:
HWRF pretty much done for 00Z. This time landfall with a powerful Category 4 (unrealistic) north of Tampa. HWRF is "experimental" and very aggressive on intensity estimates. Do not use for much more than entertainment (or doomsday scenario) purposes.


lol
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52248
2095. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
5:29 AM GMT on June 27, 2009


1. SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS ASSOCIATED WITH A TROPICAL WAVE OVER THE
NORTHWESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA HAVE DECREASED DURING THE PAST SEVERAL
HOURS. SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM IS NOT ANTICIPATED
BEFORE IT REACHES THE YUCATAN PENINSULA LATER TODAY. HOWEVER...
ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS COULD BECOME FAVORABLE FOR SOME
DEVELOPMENT ONCE THE SYSTEM EMERGES INTO THE SOUTHERN GULF OF
MEXICO LATER TONIGHT OR SUNDAY. THERE IS A MEDIUM CHANCE...30 TO 50
PERCENT...OF THIS SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS. LOCALLY HEAVY RAINS ARE POSSIBLE OVER PORTIONS OF
WESTERN CUBA AND HONDURAS TODAY AND COULD SPREAD WESTWARD INTO
NORTHERN CENTRAL AMERICA AND THE YUCATAN PENINSULA DURING THE NEXT
DAY OR SO.

AOI/INV/93L
MARK
17.9N/83.4W

convective refire detected nne of current and previous convective cycle




Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52248
2093. Buhdog
5:27 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
Sat Jun 27 01:25:04 EDT 2009
TWOAT
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
200 AM EDT SAT JUN 27 2009

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS ASSOCIATED WITH A TROPICAL WAVE OVER THE
NORTHWESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA HAVE DECREASED DURING THE PAST SEVERAL
HOURS. SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM IS NOT ANTICIPATED
BEFORE IT REACHES THE YUCATAN PENINSULA LATER TODAY. HOWEVER...
ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS COULD BECOME FAVORABLE FOR SOME
DEVELOPMENT ONCE THE SYSTEM EMERGES INTO THE SOUTHERN GULF OF
MEXICO LATER TONIGHT OR SUNDAY. THERE IS A MEDIUM CHANCE...30 TO 50
PERCENT...OF THIS SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS. LOCALLY HEAVY RAINS ARE POSSIBLE OVER PORTIONS OF
WESTERN CUBA AND HONDURAS TODAY AND COULD SPREAD WESTWARD INTO
NORTHERN CENTRAL AMERICA AND THE YUCATAN PENINSULA DURING THE NEXT
DAY OR SO.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE
Member Since: July 30, 2005 Posts: 1 Comments: 958
2092. Drakoen
5:27 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
HWRF 00z has this thing at hurricane strength by tomorrow. NO way that is believable. I think the GFS and GFDL tracks are better suited. The HWRF is WAY too aggressive and should be discounted.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29714
2091. msphar
5:22 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
As I recall from last year there were several storms that had trouble getting the centers all balanced. So the rain making part sort of wobbled around the LLC as each event progressed. Looks to me like this one might be another in that category.
Member Since: August 20, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 289
2090. jeffs713
5:22 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
Quoting TampaSpin:


Jeff the ULL low is moving toward the West it seems Link

I hadn't caught a WV loop yet. ;)

The ULL definitely is pulling off, which will help the shear situation. The MLC, however, looks to be a headache. It keeps on firing up convection attached to the wave. (and some of the convection acts like an MCC in its satellite presentation and movement)
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5792
2089. RyanFSU
5:21 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
HWRF pretty much done for 00Z. This time landfall with a powerful Category 4 (unrealistic) north of Tampa. HWRF is "experimental" and very aggressive on intensity estimates. Do not use for much more than entertainment (or doomsday scenario) purposes.


Member Since: February 13, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 308
2088. SomeRandomTexan
5:19 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
good night as well.. im off till tomorrow.. everyone keep an eye on it for me... dont see it becoming a TD until late tomorrow.. jmho
Member Since: August 30, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1837
2087. TampaSpin
5:17 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
Here is my Blog site if anyone needs some info.....lots of good stuff to play around with also....Good nite everyone!

TampaSpins Blog Site.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 177 Comments: 20430
2086. beell
5:18 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
Time will tell. If it going to amount to anything it has to get free of the westward moving tropical wave. Which may account for the odd appearance we see tonight. It's trying.

G'Nite
Member Since: September 11, 2007 Posts: 137 Comments: 15303
2085. TampaMishy
5:17 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
Quoting jeffs713:

What do I need to do to "jinx" the Houston area into some rain? Thats all I want, just some rain.
A weather troll
Member Since: July 30, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1474
2084. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
5:15 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
AOI/INV/93L
MARK
17.8N/83.4W

convective refire detected nne of current and previous convective cycle




Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52248
2083. TampaMishy
5:14 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
it has happened before it will happen again just a matter of time once in tapa there was nothing but 3 house after a storm
True
Member Since: July 30, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1474
2082. TampaSpin
5:13 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
Quoting jeffs713:

Yep, I noticed that too. Right now what we have is a very confused system. A ULL over the Yucatan, a MLC south of the Cayman Islands, and an LLC stuck between them. Not enough energy to go around, until the ULL and/or the MLC die off or consolidate with the LLC.


Jeff the ULL low is moving toward the West it seems Link
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 177 Comments: 20430
2081. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
5:12 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
Quoting WeatherStudent:


Good morning, should I in Naples be concerned about this then, Simmons?
get out your flashlight and batteries
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52248
2080. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
5:10 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
Quoting TampaMishy:
I mean really do you think anything will come here??? It never happens.
it has happened before it will happen again just a matter of time once in tampa there was nothing but 3 houses after a storm
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52248
2079. SomeRandomTexan
5:10 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
thanks Jeff exactly what i was seeing but i dont think everyone else is seeing it.. i have been in lurk mode here lately but i guess i am going to get back out of it now
Member Since: August 30, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1837
2078. jeffs713
5:10 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
Quoting TampaSpin:


OMG you just jinxed us big time....LOL

What do I need to do to "jinx" the Houston area into some rain? Thats all I want, just some rain.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5792
2077. TampaSpin
5:09 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
Quoting SomeRandomTexan:
Thanks TampaSpin for posting that... maybe it will clarify for some people...

Dont forget the water, flashlight and weather radio..lol!


Its very easy at night without visible to think a midlevel spin is a LowLevel spin...
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 177 Comments: 20430
2076. TampaMishy
5:09 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
yes get out your batteries and flash light
Who keeper?
Member Since: July 30, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1474
2075. jeffs713
5:08 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
Quoting TampaMishy:
I mean really do you think anything will come here??? It never happens.

I think the Tampa area might get some rain out of this, but nothing beyond a very weak TS. And even with that... it is FAR too early to be prognosticating where something might go, considering the something doesn't even exist yet.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5792
2074. TampaSpin
5:08 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
Quoting TampaMishy:
I mean really do you think anything will come here??? It never happens.


OMG you just jinxed us big time....LOL
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 177 Comments: 20430
2073. TampaMishy
5:07 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
Hi spin!!!!
Member Since: July 30, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1474
2072. SRQBoogieMan
5:07 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
Yes, TampaMishy...there's a few of us out here.
Member Since: October 2, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 36
2071. TampaSpin
5:08 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
Quoting TampaMishy:
Any1 on here?


I thought a Troll got you!
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 177 Comments: 20430
2070. SomeRandomTexan
5:07 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
Thanks TampaSpin for posting that... maybe it will clarify for some people...

Dont forget the water, flashlight and weather radio..lol!
Member Since: August 30, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1837
2069. TampaMishy
5:07 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
Quoting jeffs713:

That is how it usually works. Did you forget to pay off mother nature again?

On a side note, I start a vacation Wednesday... I'm willing to bet that the heat comes back with a vengeance ("bad weather" in the form of rain would be fantastic)
I mean really do you think anything will come here??? It never happens.
Member Since: July 30, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1474
2068. jeffs713
5:06 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
Quoting SomeRandomTexan:
It appears some people including myself at first are getting the mlc confused as the llc.. the llc is further to the sw and still appears to be heading nw... look closely

Yep, I noticed that too. Right now what we have is a very confused system. A ULL over the Yucatan, a MLC south of the Cayman Islands, and an LLC stuck between them. Not enough energy to go around, until the ULL and/or the MLC die off or consolidate with the LLC.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5792
2067. CatastrophicDL
5:06 AM GMT on June 27, 2009
Keep 93L in check guys! I'm headed to bed - doing the early garage sale thing in the morning!
Member Since: September 3, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 1519

Viewing: 2117 - 2067

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43Blog Index

Top of Page

About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy
64 °F
Partly Cloudy