Want to be a hurricane hunter?

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Tori Schultz
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs
Wind speeds increase and the sky gets darker. People begin to seek shelter. You are sitting at your desk and the phone rings or a notification flashes across the computer saying "Tornado warning/watch! Shelter in Place!" As you scramble to find a safe place, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Corps work begins.

"Being a hurricane hunter is not what I got into NOAA to do, it was just one of those opportunities that came up," said Lt. Cmdr. Patrick Didier, NOAA Weather Patrol-3 pilot, smiling.

Wondering how to have the opportunity to be a part of NOAA corps? There are two options; the inner-service transfer program and homegrown program.

The inner service transfer allows a servicemember to transfer from one service to another. NOAA pilots are mainly made up of Navy pilots close to the end of their career, because they already have the training required to fly a P-3 aircraft.

"We usually get pilots from the Navy, mainly because they are the only other branch of service that works with P-3 aircraft," said Price.

The inner service transfer begins with an open application process that is available to every branch of service. Once the applications are completed, there is a selection board that chooses the best applicant for the transfer. The board looks for applicants that are finishing their service requirements close to the time that [NOAA] needs a pilot.

"I found out about the NOAA corps during my last tour," said Lt. Cmdr. Scott Price, Weather Patrol-3 pilot. "I was fortunate to finish up my Navy requirements as the NOAA corps was looking for a pilot."

However, an inner service transfer is not the only way to become a part of the NOAA corps. Becoming a homegrown-NOAA pilot is another option to become a hurricane hunter.

"I found out about the commissioning officer program on the internet from a link on the website," said Lt. Cmdr. Patrick Didier.

Didier was accepted into the program and started his training with a two-year ship assignment. After his ship assignment, Didier went to flight safety and received his commercial pilot's license.

Whether it's from a click of a button or an oath of enlistment, NOAA has a place for you! For more information visit www.noaa.gov.