Ransom Middle Students Get Hurricane Lesson From Tate Grad Hurricane Hunter From The Middle Of Storm

September 11, 2018

Students at Ransom Middle School had a lesson in hurricanes Monday — directly from a Tate High Graduate Hurricane Hunter aircraft in the middle of a hurricane.

Maj. Christopher Dyke is n aerial reconnaissance weather officer (ARWO) in the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, better known as the “Hurricane Hunters”.

“Major Christopher Dyke, a former student, called and had me put my phone on speaker so he could talk to my current students about what he and his crew were doing. He called a few different times, and absolutely brought hurricane science to life,” Ransom Middle science teacher Louis O’Rear said.

“He called from the plane, on satellite phone, while they were flying in the middle of a hurricane,” O’Rear exclaimed about the call from his former student. The Hurricane Hunters were in the middle of a 10.5 hour mission into Hurricane Olivia over the Pacific Ocean and headed toward the Hawaiian Islands.

Dyke, who’s flown 337 sorties and has more than 1,200 flight hours, said the 53rd WRS is a good match for his love of weather, because it’s rewarding to contribute information that improves forecasts and storm warnings, which helps to ensure public safety.

“As an ARWO, we act as a mission director for the weather reconnaissance missions,” said Dyke, who is one of 22 ARWOs in the Air Force. “We work with the National Hurricane Center to gather the data they need, and we work with the aircrew to match our capabilities to those requirements.”

The squadron conducts primarily two types of tropical cyclone missions: low-level invests and fix missions. A low-level invest mission is flown at 500 to 1,500 feet to determine if there is a closed circulation. Once a close circulation exists, they fly at higher altitudes, ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 feet. Aircrews fly through the eye of a storm four to six times per mission to locate the low-pressure center and circulation of the storm. During these missions, the aircrews transmit the weather data by satellite to the NHC.

Dykes and his family moved to Cantonment when he was 13.

Before he became part of the Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters, Dyke served as a meteorologist in the Air Force from 2005 to 2008. His first assignment was at Keesler. He reported to the Weather Officer Course, with his first month being one many on the Gulf Coast he will never forget — Hurricane Katrina.

“It was a nightmare,” he said. “You could hear howling in Wolfe Hall where we were sheltered, and some of the stairwells started taking on water. We spent a week in the shelter, and I was responsible for a security detail after the storm.”

He eventually left the base, reporting to Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, where he completed his weather training and began his first permanent duty assignment.

When Dyke isn’t flying, he is also the Air Force Reserve Command interim weather career field manager. He manages the weather specialists’ career paths, and is also responsible for organizing, training and equipping weather units.

Whether he is working issues to improve the unit or flying into the world’s most powerful storms to gather life-saving data, Dyke has a passion for his profession.

“I’m not the kind of person who can sit in front of a computer all day, every day; so this provides me the opportunity to get out, be hands-on, and at the same time doing a job dealing with a topic I love,” said Dyke.

Editor’s note: Olivia was downgraded to a tropical storm late Monday.

Comments

4 Responses to “Ransom Middle Students Get Hurricane Lesson From Tate Grad Hurricane Hunter From The Middle Of Storm”

  1. Jdub on September 12th, 2018 12:27 am

    Christopher Dyke is a great guy! We were ROTC cadets together at The University of South Alabama back in the day and both graduates from Tate (of course I’m older). He was liked by all and just an all around good guy! So proud to see he has made Major in the Air Force and doing so well

  2. Bonnie Exner on September 11th, 2018 7:06 pm

    As a retired teacher from RANSOM MIDDLE..AM.HISTORY AND CIVICS as well as TATE HIGH..ADULT GED..I can unequivocally say that those students who had the desire to learn and parental support, can literally reach for the stars..KIDDOS also go to Mr. O..as he is so lovingly called..for energizing and electrifying his students

  3. Jackie Johnson on September 11th, 2018 9:25 am

    Interesting story. Mr. O’Rear now would be the time to get your class to look into the Grey Berets out of Hulbert Field, I never knew they existed until I read an interesting article in the Reader’s Digest. This was a good experience for your class.

  4. Tina Stewart on September 11th, 2018 5:02 am

    What an awesome xperience for the kids at Tate.





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