Air Force hurricane hunters inside Ian's eye capture eerie calm, blue skies

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With Hurricane Ian beginning to cause catastrophic wind damage and life-threatening flooding, footage from Tuesday showed the view from within the eye is calm.

Air Force hurricane hunters captured scenes from above Hurricane Ian as it made its way across the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday.

A crew of five from the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron took off from Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi in a WC-130J Hercules to collect data for better tracking of the storm’s path and intensity. 

The high-wing, medium-range aircraft usually penetrates storms at a maximum altitude of 10,000 feet to collect meteorological data from the eye.

HURRICANE IAN MAKES LANDFALL IN SOUTHWESTERN FLORIDA CATEGORY 4 FORCE

An Air Force squadron flew into Hurricane Ian Tuesday, capturing video of eerie calm and blue skies within the Category 4 storm.

An Air Force squadron flew into Hurricane Ian Tuesday, capturing video of eerie calm and blue skies within the Category 4 storm.
(U.S. Air Force video by Staff Sgt. Kristen Pittman)

“The aircraft normally flies a radius of about 105 miles from the vortex to collect detailed data about the structure of the tropical cyclone,” according to a press release. 

A home in Fort Myers is flooded as Hurricane Ian sweeps through Florida.

A home in Fort Myers is flooded as Hurricane Ian sweeps through Florida.
(Fox News Digital)

The data collected is critical to tropical cyclone forecasting, mapping the surface wind environment below the aircraft and provides enhanced surface wind information.

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An average mission lasts 11 hours and covers nearly 3,500 miles. The aircraft is capable of staying aloft “almost 18 hours at an optimum cruise speed of more than 300 mph.”

An Air Force squadron flew into Hurricane Ian Tuesday, capturing video of the water below.

An Air Force squadron flew into Hurricane Ian Tuesday, capturing video of the water below.
(U.S. Air Force video by Staff Sgt. Kristen Pittman)

Data is relayed in real time via satellite link to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

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