PRC NJROTC soar over the horizon in a Hurricane Hunter C-130
Published 7:00 am Saturday, January 28, 2017
Some people have never flown in a plane, but some still dream of making a career in the air. Recently, members of the Pearl River Central National Junior ROTC embarked on an excursion flight on a Hurricane Hunter C-130 Naval aircraft.
For decades, the Navy and Air Force have issued C-130 aircrafts to be used for weather reconnaissance missions, which collect data from tropical storms to help track and monitor the progression of potential hurricanes, Ally Beasley, PRC NJROTC Public Affairs Officer and student said.
On Jan. 18, members of the PRC NJROTC soared through the clouds over the Pearl River Central campus while exploring every nook and cranny inside the C-130.
“I’m not going to lie, I was nervous when getting on the plane because I have never flown before, not even commercially,” Beasley said. “But once we got in the air, it was a blast.”
The students tagged along in one of the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron C-130 aircrafts to see what it is like to conduct tropical storm reconnaissance as well as learn more about Naval and Air Force aviation.
The 53rd WRS is under the 403rd Reserve Wing, which is located at Kessler AFB in Biloxi, according to the Hurricane Hunters website.
It is the 53rd WRS crew’s mission to fly through and report on up to three storms a day, covering Mississippi to the Caribbean and extending out to the Mid-Atlantic.
The students that embarked on the orientation flight got to experience things that many dream of, like controlling the tilt of the plane while in flight and watching the plane takeoff in the cockpit. Although the plane was not destined to fly through storms while the PRC NJROTC cadets were on board, the unique experience sparked the imagination of many students.
“I can remember sitting there in the cockpit as we were in the sky just thinking what it would be like to see a massive storm in front of you while knowing you are headed straight for it. It got my adrenaline pumping,” Cheyenne Ingersoll, PRC NJROTC student, said.
This unique experience brought joy to many of the participants, but to one PRC NJROTC member, it meant a lot more.
“It has been a dream of mine since I can remember to be a Naval Aviator, and this trip really intensified that dream,” Bradley Counts, a senior NJROTC student said. “I was pretty much already determined, but this trip solidified my next move in life, which is to join the Navy.”
From expanding their horizons to soaring over the horizon, the PRC NJROTC students not only shared an experience they will never forget, but many gained inspiration and were well-educated throughout the trip on what goes into military aviation. Participants also saw behind the scenes action of collecting storm data that weather channels across the nation use.
“It was definitely a thrill flying in the C-130, but knowing that people do this every day and fly through storms every day just to keep us updated and prepared for what might come is a true eye opener,” Allison Lott, PRC NJROTC student said.