- Associated Press - Saturday, March 4, 2017

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) - The new home base for the U.S. government’s “hurricane hunter” aircraft is on schedule to open before the Atlantic hurricane season begins, Lakeland Linder Regional Airport officials said

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s planes are specially equipped to collect forecasting data as they fly in and around tropical storms and hurricanes. The agency’s aircraft are scheduled move May 1 to Lakeland from MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.

Since December, up to 80 workers have been on site each day rebuilding a hanger to accommodate the large aircraft, Airport Manager Gene Conrad told The Ledger (https://bit.ly/2m68TZG ).

“It’s moving at light speed,” Conrad said.

The $17.5 million project also includes a science lab, an operational hub and a maintenance shop. NOAA is covering about $4.5 million of the cost, the state is taking on $6.5 million, and the airport is covering another $6.5 million.

Airport Business Manager John Von Preysing said NOAA’s move to the Lakeland airport brings 110 “highly technical” jobs to the city.

Two of the “hurricane hunters” got major upgrades to their engines, wings and radar over the last two years in their cavernous hanger at MacDill. The Air Force told NOAA last year that it needed the hangar space, and NOAA had to move its aircraft by July 1, 2017.

The six-month Atlantic hurricane season starts June 1.


Information from: The Ledger (Lakeland, Fla.), https://www.theledger.com

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide