JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The First Coast is home to a few different military bases. But, one of them has a job that no other base has. They are in charge of rehabbing NOAA's P3 Orion planes that fly directly into tropical storms, gathering information for the public.
NOAA has three planes, two P3 Orions, Miss Piggy and Kermit, and a high altitude plane. These planes need to be checked out every once in a while and work needs to be done.
"Every 100 hours we do an inspection and every 400 hours we do another inspection. We keep a close eye on them. They get beat up a little bit so we want to make sure they're staying in tip top shape," said Lt. Kevin Doremus, NOAA pilot.
About every six years, the planes come to NAS JAX. They get completely stripped from the cockpit to the back of the plane. Everything gets taken off and put back together.
"It's going through a pretty extensive maintenance period today where its getting new wings, a new tail section, and while we're upgrading it with more fuel effect engines and updated science equipment," said Doremus.
Lt. Doremus has been flying with NOAA for 6 years.
"You're looking at your nose radar, and you can start to see the gap in precipitation so you know you're getting toward the eye. It's a really interesting feeling You're getting rocked, you're getting bumped around, and then all of the sudden it's calm. You look around and you have clouds all around you, 360. It's clear above, it's clear below. It's beautiful," said Lt. Doremus.
Because of that, Angello Evans, who's in charge of the P3s at NAS JAX, says there's a lot of pride in the people who are working on the planes.
"These guys don't fly around the hurricane, they fly directly into the hurricane. And the artisans know they're part of working on an aircraft that flies into the hurricane and let the public know what's going on with these storms because in Florida, there's a lot of storms," said Evans.
By the time the plane is all done, there will have been about 200 people who have worked on it. It'll be done in August of next year.