His fifth EP, ‘Crime of Necessity’, showcases these qualities in every moment. “Jim’s forward-thinking leadership and careful oversight of the hurricane hunter program has immeasurably influenced the evolution of airborne data collection in this unique environment,” Gallagher said. James McFadden Racing. My story, “Hunting Hugo: The Hurricane Hunters’ Wildest Ride,” recounts our ill-fated decision to penetrate the most intense portion of Hugo’s eyewall at 1,500 feet, thinking the hurricane would merely be a category 3 storm. Three tense minutes passed as they attempted to figure out what had caused the two engine failures. He grumbled that yes, his bosses weren’t happy about it, but by putting those students on the flight, he’d be doing more for hurricane science than any public relations we could ever get from reporters’ coverage. While the flight engineer worked to restart it, they passed through an intense rain shower that washed much of the salt from the airplane. Over the course of Dr. McFadden’s career, he has played a key role in coordinating thousands of projects on more than two dozen aircraft of various types, makes, and models, including helicopters, seaplanes, fixed-wing light aircraft, heavy multi-engine propeller aircraft, and high-altitude jets. Dad passed away from heart failure. Fare the well, he had enough rough doing, my he glide easy now! He makes sure that the nine planes and their crews at the operations center have the technology and equipment necessary to obtain the most accurate storm data possible so it can be turned into accurate forecasts. A meteorologist by training, the 82-year-old McFadden, called Doc, has seen it all, from the early use of computers and satellites to sophisticated sensors, radar systems and now unmanned aircraft. He flew through more than 50 hurricanes on various hurricane hunter aircraft during his career, passing through the eye a total of 590 times. In a 2018 interview with CNN, he said, “It wasn’t that impressive a storm. To get readings, hurricane hunter airplanes fly into the storm and drop devices through it that measure temperature, wind speed, direction and barometric pressure. I enjoyed that read more than any other in a long time. These influences and a love of classic singer-songwriters combine with his own love of classic British bands and soul, giving his songs a contemporary fusion of all of these strands. “There isn’t a single person who has experienced a hurricane or a tropical cyclone who hasn’t been directly impacted by his work in a positive way,” Newman said. Contact James by using the contact form here. I had the honor of having Jim as my mentor during my four years as a flight meteorologist flying on NOAA’s P-3 Hurricane Hunter aircraft between 1986 and 1990, and will greatly miss his enthusiasm, knowledge, sarcastic wit, and dedication to hurricane science. RIP Dr. McFadden. McFadden kept flying into hurricanes for another 53 years, logging a total of 590 penetrations into hurricane eyes. I remember when hurricanes were far less predictable, and we huddled around a transistor radio for news. This included losing an engine in 2003 when tracking Hurricane Isabel. For much of his five-decade federal career, James McFadden literally has been in the eye of the storm. During their final sampling run, there was a shout over the intercom, “Fire on number three, flames, flames, flames!” when the chief engineer saw flames coming out of an engine accompanied by loud popping noises. You can listen to his interview and learn more about his life and career here: https://www.noaa.gov/heritage/stories/look-back-with-hurricane-hunter-dr... You are here: https://www.omao.noaa.gov/find/media/articles/2020-09-29/memoriam-dr-james-“doc”-mcfadden Reviewed: September 29, 2020. From that day forward, he has been in the critical path for every aircraft acquisition, new scientific instrument developed and fielded, every major facility move, and every organizational restructuring of NOAA’s aerial research program, including the transition from the Research Flight Facility to the Office of Aircraft Operations, known today as the NOAA Aircraft Operations Center. The pilot contacted Canadian Air Force search and rescue, which launched a C-130 aircraft from Nova Scotia to intercept. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3nIH0XKHYoc. As the government’s longest-serving hurricane hunter, McFadden is the heart and soul of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Aircraft Operations Center that sends aircraft into the harshest weather to gather real-time, life-saving specifics on the formation and progress of earth’s deadliest storms. So his active career spanned 52 years, 352 days, earning him a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for longest career as a Hurricane Hunter. That mighty storm packed winds of 100 mph, and sea spray kicked up by the winds reached all the way to flight level (3,000 feet), coating the plane’s engines with a thick white layer of salt. The navigator issued a mayday call, notifying air traffic control of their latitude and longitude. But at night, with the frigid waters of the North Atlantic in a hurricane-strength storm with 30 to 40-foot waves, the odds of survival were miniscule. Website visitors can comment on “Eye on the Storm” posts (see below). Every time we’d communicate, he’d gleefully exclaim, “No plans to retire yet!” As he explained it, “My job combines three things I like most: the weather, travel, and airplanes. Judging by the subsequent careers of those three students – Dr. Chris Landsea (chief of NHC’s Tropical Analysis and Forecasting Branch), Dr. James Kossin (hurricane scientist for the National Centers for Environmental Information), and Steve Hodanish (senior meteorologist at the Pueblo Weather Forecast Office) – few could question that outcome. Please read our Comments Policy prior to posting. Like this page for race results, photos and other race related info. A 53-year veteran of flying into hurricanes, McFadden passed away peacefully on Monday, September 28, at age 86. Jim also happened to be on two of the most truly terrifying flights ever survived by a weather research aircraft, both done in NOAA’s P-3 aircraft N42RF (affectionately called Kermit). Wonderful article, Dr. Masters. “He’s exceptional in a unique field of flying these storms and gathering the data,” Read said. Dr. McFadden was also passionate about education and outreach, always taking time to speak with and mentor students and engage with the public and the media during hurricane awareness tours, air shows, and other events. OMAO administers the NOAA fleet of ships & aircraft and trains divers to safely facilitate Earth observation.
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