Skip To Content
BuzzFeed News Home Reporting To You

This Is What It's Like To Fly Into The Most Powerful Hurricane Ever Recorded

Flight engineer Joseph Klippel flew several missions to measure the intensity of Hurricane Patricia. His photos and videos show what it's like to fly into the eye of the storm.

Posted on October 23, 2015, at 8:00 p.m. ET

Joseph Klippel is a flight engineer who works for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. And for the last several days he has been flying straight into Hurricane Patricia.

Klippel is part of a NOAA team of Hurricane Hunters, which gathers data about storms using aircraft. On Facebook, Klippel wrote that he has flown into hurricanes nearly 300 times.

BuzzFeed News has reached out to Klippel but had not yet heard back Friday evening.

Klippel first shared a photo of NOAA's plane "Miss Piggy" β€” actually a Lockheed WP-3D Orion that is designed to withstand extreme weather conditions β€” Wednesday as he prepared to head out. At the time, Patricia was just a tropical storm.

By Thursday β€” coincidentally Klippel's wedding anniversary β€” Patricia had exploded to become a hurricane. At the time, Klippel said on Facebook he had already flown two missions into the storm, which was generating winds of more than 180 mph.

Klippel also posted video of the trip into the storm. The video shows the plane being pelted by rain and jostled by wind. Visibility outside is practically non-existent during parts of the video.

Klippel posted a second video that begins while the plane is in the eye of the storm. Clouds are visible in the distance but the trip appears to be comparatively smooth. Finally, the plane can be seen moving back into the eye wall.

Patricia made landfall Friday evening as a Category 5 storm near the town of Cuixmala on Mexico's southwest coast with 165 mph winds.

ADVERTISEMENT