An aerospace engineer has recorded the terrifying moment that he flew into the Category-5 Hurricane Irma, which has windspeeds of up to 200mph.
Nick Underwood shared the chilling video, which sees his plane rattling and shaking as it’s buffeted by the very storm it’s been sent up to measure, on Tuesday.
But Underwood – whose data will be used to build prediction models for Irma and others – wasn’t shaken, writing on Twitter: ‘I had a blast and I’m hype to go again.’
Aerospace engineer Nick Underwood filmed terrifying footage through the window of a plane sent hurtling into Hurricane Irma. It then dropped devices to measure the storm
Underwood’s job is to sit in the back of the plane and deploy instruments called dropsondes, which are swept up in the storm’s winds.
As the disposable instruments are tossed around, they show the shape, movement and form of the hurricane – helping experts build predictive models.
The data then flows back, Underwood checks it to make sure it’s ‘solid’ then relays it to the plane and on to the National Hurricane Center.
For Underwood that means keeping a cool head while the plane comes terrifyingly close to one of the most powerful forces on Earth.
But the engineer wasn’t scared at all. In fact, he says, he was excited – and helped along by a chance piece of music.
Underwood (left) says he was ‘hype’ to go again, despite footage showing his equipment (right) shaking in the cabin as it neared the winds of up to 200mph
After flying out of the storm, Underwood turns the camera around to capture these malevolent-looking dark-grey clouds
‘My headset on the plane lets me pipe in some music. It automatically lowers the music volume when someone talks so you still know what’s up,’ he wrote on Twitter.
‘On last night’s flight we’re approaching the storm at like 4 in the morning and I’m a little sleepy, so I put the workout playlist on.
‘We’re flying along and as we enter the eyewall (where bumps tend to be the worst) “X Gon’ Give It To Ya” by DMX comes on and it’s PERFECT.’
‘So you can imagine me in an airplane getting tossed around in a major hurricane and just going HARD to DMX. I loved it.’
In fact, Underwood says, it’s the early-morning starts, not the risk of horrible death, that are the real bane of his job.
But there are perks too.
On Sunday he tweeted a photo of an idyllic looking Barbados beach.
However, that did come with this ominous message: ‘In 12 hours I’ll be on a flight into a hurricane.’
On Sunday Underwood was on a beach in Barbados (left). On Monday he was flying into Irma (right in satellite image) in the hope of predicting her path