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The past few days in the United States have been less than upbeat; with yesterday marking 16 years since 9/11 and hurricane Irma devastating the Florida coast, it’s hard to imagine what role PGS Worldwide plays in events like this where we are seemingly so far removed. Being a company based in the Midwest, it may seem as though we are not effected at all or play no impacting role in the events that transpire on the coasts. Although 9/11 happened before PGS Worldwide was established, we are happy to say that we did play a small part in keeping a select few people safe during Hurricane Irma last week.

NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) assembled a crew of scientists aptly named “Hurricane Hunters” to fly into the eye of Hurricane Irma, just days before it was due to hit the coast of Florida. Much like our local storm chasers here in Tornado Alley, this crew must be armed with a special set of tools to keep them safe in a category 4 hurricane. The tool enlisted to do the job? None other than the Lockheed WP-3D Orion aircraft; an aircraft packed with scientific computers, radars and other special instruments to collect a myriad of weather data and equipped with 4 turboprop engines designed to withstand the relentless high wind speeds of a hurricane.

The P-3 Orion was originally developed as an anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft for the Navy before the WP-3D was designed for NOAA to conduct Hurricane research in the 1970s. There are only two WP-3D Orion Aircraft specifically designed for NOAA (fondly nicknamed Kermit and Miss Piggy), but many of our contractors have had the opportunity to work on many of the P-3 models, including the WP-3D.  Some of the equipment our contractors have installed is paramount to the NOAA collecting vital information about hurricanes and other tropical storms; LF and TDR radars are installed at the bottom of the aircraft, scanning vertically and horizontally to create a multi-layered image of the storm. As of today, the WP-3D is the only aircraft in NOAA’s fleet to have this type of technology.

In the video below, you can see the WP-3D’s turboprop engines cutting through the high speed winds with little difficulty as the rain pelts the aircraft’s frame just before the video pans inside to show several computer screens receiving data from the multiple radars and probes that are deployed before flight. Much of the equipment shown in the video, PGS Worldwide’s contractors have assisted in assembling before it is installed to the aircraft.

Our hearts go out to those who were directly effected by the storm and those who have family who were effected by the storm, not only in Florida but in Texas as well. It is our hope that the small contributions we have made to build the WP-3D, will help NOAA to better understand these storms and in turn better protect those who will ultimately be effected.♦


PGS Worldwide, a boutique SDVOSB Agency, founded in 2011, is the #1 staffing supplier to several notable aerospace and defense companies. If you, or someone you know, are interested in jump starting your dream career in Aerospace, check out our available positions today. If you’re interested in doing business with us and want to know what we are capable of, check out our capability statement.

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