Wednesday, November 30, 2016

GOES-R is now GOES-16 and a little about GOES 13 to 15

GOES-R, the first of the latest next generation of NOAA's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) achieved geostationary orbit on November 29th at approximately 22,000 miles above the earth. More information may be found in the November 30th article on a GOES-R launch blog from NOAA's Satellite and Information Service. You may find my earlier articles on GOES R here (with links).

I don't know about you, but I have been wondering about the history of GOES and thanks to a reminder from one of my friends at a National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office, I found a NOAA webpage with a brief history of GOES.

Each GOES is assigned a letter at launch and once it achieved geostationary orbit it is assigned a number. GOES-16 (aka GOES-R) is the first of what I believe is the sixth generation of GOES. GOES 1 through 12 (representing the first four generations of GOES) have been decommissioned. 

The fifth generation of GOES is GOES N to P, or GOES 13 to 15. For more on the history of GOES, including a brief description of each generation of GOES and a list of their launch dates and decommission dates, see this NOAA webpage on a brief history of GOES. NOAA has a nice FAQ page on GOES, discussing GOES satellites in general as well as GOES-R (GOES-16) that may be found here. If you go to the brief history of GOES and click on "Earth NOW from GOES" you will see images from GOES East and GOES West.

Back to GOES 13 to 15 (N-P).
  • GOES 13 (GOES N) was launched on May 24, 2006 and became operational on April 14, 2010. It is currently operating as GOES East at 75 degrees west longitude. 
  • GOES 14 (GOES O) was launched on June 27, 2009 and is currently located at 105 degrees west longitude in on-orbit storage. It serves as a back-up for either GOES East or GOES West. For example, when GOES 13 was out of service while some technical issues in early 2013 were being corrected, GOES 14 operated as GOES East. 
  • GOES 15 (GOES P) was launched on March 4, 2010, becoming operational on December 6, 2011. GOES 14 is currently operating as GOES West at 135 degrees west longitude. 
You might want to check out the GOES status page, where I found information on GOES 13 to 15.

Monday, November 28, 2016

New South Wales Australia November Bush Fires

It is summer down under in Australia, that means it is bush fire season. Here are a couple of videos showing some bush fire action.

In this short video you will see one of the DC-10 tankers from 10 Tanker, known as the "Southern Belle" making a drop on a bush fire.

Direct link to video

The next video is a little under eight minutes, it is aerial footage of the Londonderry Fire in New South Wales. Some of the footage is in black and white and some is in color. You will also some nice footage of a DC-10 tanker "Southern Belle" working the bush fire in support of the bush firefighters on the ground.

Direct link to video

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thank-you wildland firefighters

On a day when I am pausing to remember all that I am thankful for, I want to say a heartfelt thank-you to all wildland firefighters on the ground and in the air along with their support teams. Some of you are working wildfires today to keep us safe. Stay safe and thank-you.

Direct link to video

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A little more about GOES-R

I am writing a quick follow-up to the article that I posted on November 21st about the launch of the next generation weather satellite currently known as GOES-R. I am sharing two videos about GOES-R (which will be renamed GOES 16)

The first video is a little over a minute long. This video highlights some of the new technology and instrumentation in GOES-R. Video credit: NASA Goddard Media Studio

direct link to video uploaded by NOAA Satellites on Youtube

The second video, also from NOAA Satellites, is almost three minutes long, going into a little more detail about the new technology and instrumentation found in GOES-R and how GOES-R will improve weather forecasting. Video Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center / Michael Starobin.

direct link to video by NOAA Satellites on Youtube

Monday, November 21, 2016

New Weather Satellite - GOES-R - Launched

I don't know about you, but I was real excited to see (and watch live via NASA TV on my computer) the launch of NOAA's newest weather satellite on November 19th. Here is an eight minute video
of the launch. The launch vehicle was an United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Video credit: NASA

direct link to video from NASA

GOES-R (which will be renamed GOES-16) is the first of four "next generation" of weather satellites. GOES stands for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite). As I understand it, GOES-R will transition to her geostationary orbit about 22,000 miles over the Earth in the next two weeks. Over the next several months engineers will be checking out her systems after which time she will go live. According to NOAA's November 19th article, GOES-R heads to orbit, will improve weather forecasting:

GOES-R is flying six new instruments, including the first operational lightning mapper in geostationary orbit. This new technology will enable scientists to observe lightning, an important indicator of where and when a storm is likely to intensify. Forecasters will use the mapper to hone in on storms that represent the biggest threat. Improved space weather sensors on GOES-R will monitor the sun and relay crucial information to forecasters so they can issue space weather alerts and warnings. Data from GOES-R will result in 34 new, or improved, meteorological, solar and space weather products.
Information about the launch, with photos and videos as well as links you may go to read about GOES-R science and mission may be found on a special GOES-R page. One of the many links on the GOES-R page is a listing (with links) of most of the new products on GOES-R. Post launch articles on GOES-R (soon to be GOES 16) may be found on this page from NOAA's Satellite and Information Service.

I close with two short and well done videos from NOAA Satellites describing how GOES-R will be used for weather forecasting. In the first video you will learn about some of the new instruments on GOES-R. Video credit: SciJinks

direct link to video

In the second video you will learn about how GOES-R will help NWS weather forecasters. Video credit: SciJinks.

direct link to video

Added on November 22, 2016: I share two more videos on November 22nd from NOAA Satellites where they discuss the new instrumentation and technology found in GOES-R. Video of launch edited to embed launch video from NASA.

Friday, November 18, 2016

How wildlife are affected by Boeteler-Nantahala Branch Fires (NC)

I was doing my daily check on the wildfires that are currently burning in the Southern United States (see my November 14th article for links you may use to find information about these wildfires), when I ran across a great short video shared by the folk who run the Boteler Nantahala Branch (NC) Facebook Page. I don't know about you, but I am always interested in how wildlife are affected by wildfires burning in or near their habitat. In this short video, you will hear Johnny Wills, a wildlife biologist for the Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina speak on how local wildlife are affected by the wildfires burning in the Nantahala National Forest. I certainly learned something.

Direct link to Facebook Post with video

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Boeteler Fire (NC) - Incident Meteorologists talking to Middle School students

In my wonderings to find the daily news on the wildfires in the Southern United States (see my November 14th article for informational links you may use) I went to the Facebook Page for the Boeteler and Nantahala Branch Fires (in Western North Carolina), I came across an eighteen video of the Terry Lebo, the Incident Meteorologist assigned to the Boeteler Fire discussing a weather balloon launch with Hayesville North Carolina Middle School Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics students.

I like this video because of the interaction between IMET Terry Lebo and the Middle school students. Seems to me that they are just the right age to be interested in the balloon launch and to learn more about meteorology. In addition, at least some of these students may live in areas affected by the wildfires. I am glad that IMET Lebo got a chance to meet with these students and it looked like they were thrilled to watch the balloon launch. I learned something and I hope that you do as well.

Note, after you hit the play button, you can stop the video, if you wish, by clicking on the image.

direct link to Facebook Post with video

Monday, November 14, 2016

2016 Fall Wildfire Season - Southeast U.S. (Nov. 14th)

Wildfires continue to burn in the Southeastern United States. Regular readers may recall that I posted an article about these wildfires on November 9th and November 11th. First and foremost, I want to thank all the wildland firefighters on the ground and in the air who are fighting these wildfires, resources from around the country continue to help local wildland firefighters to fight these wildfires.

There are a lot of wildfires to keep track of, and to that end I will post some links to those wildfires that have Inciweb incident pages. The Southern Area Coordination Center's (SACC) intelligence page  (in the intelligence section of predictive services) is a good place to start for information on wildfires currently burning. I check out their Morning Report that is updated daily when there are active wildfires burning in the South.  Don't forget to check out the SACC home page for some nice maps and links to other information. Another useful source of information is the Incident Management Situation Report (updated daily during wildfire season and less often at other times of the year) from the National Interagency Coordination Center.

I recently found a publicly available Facebook page for the Boteler and Nantahala Branch Fires (North Carolina), they have been providing updates for some of the wildfires that are currently burning in National Forests in North Carolina.

Wildfires with Inciweb incident pages (Accessed between 9 and 11 AM EST on November 14, 2016. What you see may be different depending on when you access these incident pages)

Mountain Creek Fire - Ozark-St. Francis National Forests; 442 acres, 50% containment

GEORGIA - Wildfires in Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest

Eastern Cherokee Complex - Eastern Cherokee Agency - 751 acres, 75% containment

National Forest in North Carolina

North Carolina Forest Service Lands
Note: I have transcribed the acreage and containment figures from the appropriate inciweb pages, any errors are mine. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

2016 fall wildfire season - Southeast U.S. (Nov 11th)

I wrote about the 2016 fall wildfire season in the Southeastern United States on November 9th, I continue today.

Accessed via kml file  on 11/11/16 from Active Fire Mapping Program: (fire data in Google Earth)
Wildfires continue to burn in the Southeastern United States. Yesterday, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency in western North Carolina, see this report from WCQS  for more information. A state of emergency was also declared yesterday in Tennessee which has 53 active wildfires that have burned from 6,000 to 8.00 acres, see this article from WATE 6 ABC for more information.

According to this morning’s (November 11, 2016) National Situation Report there are 31 uncontained large wildfires (100 acres or more) burning in the Southeastern U.S. Some of these wildfires are threatening structures and evacuations are in place for at least one wildfire. (obtained on November 11, 2016 from the National Interagency Coordination Center - Incident Management Situation Report).

I understand from reading the Southern Area Coordination Center’s (SACC) Morning Report for November 11th  that aerial resources are available to assist the wildland firefighters on the ground including but not necessarily limited to: 12 air attack platforms, 2 Aerial Supervision Modules (Bravo 6 and Bravo 33), 4 Type-1 air tankers (T-41 (day off?), T-10, T-131, and T-162), 2 “scoopers” (T-262 and T-263), 6 SEATs (T-801, T-806, T-813, T-819, T-842, and T-892), 11 Type-1 Helicopters, 5 type-2 helicopters, 18 type-3 helicopters. Some of these aircraft were committed to specific wildfires and others are listed as available.

Wildfire crews from outside the SACC are assisting SACC wildfire crews: California (including crews from Los Angeles, Hemet and Chula Vista), Connecticut, Idaho, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and numerous federal agencies.  Crews from the following Native American Tribes are working wildfires in the south: Cherokee Nation, Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Sup Chippewa. Grand Portage Band of Lake Sub Chippewa, Passamaquody Tribe, Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, and the Tule River Indian Tribe (obtained on November 11, 2016 from the November 11th SACC Morning Report. There is a nice article from News Channel 9 on three "heavy airtankers based in Chattanooga Tennessee working the wildfires in the southeast.

Smoke from these fires is impacting Georgia, see Bill Gabbert’s November 10th article on Wildfire Today

Many, but not all, of the wildfires currently burning in the Southeastern U..S. have incident pages on Inciweb, the incident management system, click on select a State in the upper right and then click the go button to see a list of wildfires in the State you are interested in. In addition there are data filters for max age, status (active, inactive, all) and type.

For more information about the wildfires in Western North Carolina:
Bill Gabbert of Wildfire Today shared some photos from the Rough Ridge Fire in Georgia

Added on November 14th: Several (but not all) of the wildfires that are currently burning in the Southeastern United States have incident pages on Inciweb, please see my November 14th article for those links.

For my friends in western North Carolina and Tennessee, stay safe and please heed any evacuation orders. Thank-you to all the wildland firefighters in the air and on the ground, stay safe!

Note: Reports from the National Interagency Coordination Center and the Southern Area Coordination Center that I cited here change frequently during wildfire season. Depending on when you are accessing this article, the reports you access will be later than those I cited here. Links to the media reports may only be available for a limited amount of time, links were good on the day I wrote the article.

Article updated on November 11, 2016 at 7:35 PM and 8:35 PM EDT

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

2016 fall wildfire season - Southeast U.S.

Knowing that areas in the Southeastern United States have been rather dry for several weeks, I wanted to post something about the numerous wildfires in the Southeast.

I start off with this map that from Google Earth showing current large incidents (wildfires) on November 9, 2016.
Accessed via kml file from Active Fire Mapping Program: (fire data in Google Earth)

I wanted to say something about the size and containment information on some of these fires, knowing that I may not be able to easily correlate the above map with some basic fire statistics. To that end, I have compiled the acreage on some of large fires (as of November 8, 2016) from the Southern Area Coordination Center’s Morning Report for November 9, 2016, New Large ICS-209 Incidents on pp 1-3. I am, hopefully, including a listing of wildfires at or below 50 percent containment on the date of the Morning Briefing. Any errors in transcribing this data are mine. I don't have statistics for every fire on the map, and some of the fires listed below are not mapped. This was a useful exercise because it gave me an appreciation for the number of wildfires that have burned in the southeast this fall. Several wildfires, not listed below are either fully contained or are near being fully contained.


Virginia Raven Rock: incident VA-VAF-000255. started November 2, 2016. 2,453 acres at 25% containment. 1 commercial and 1 outbuilding have been destroyed.

North Carolina
  • Party Rock: incident NC-NCG-160031. started November 5, 2016, 320 acres at 15% containment.
  • Freebee Memorial: incident NC-NCF-160299. started November 5, 2016. at least 1,132 acres at 0% containment.
  • Tellico: incident NC-NCF-160280. started November 3, 2016. at least1,835 acres at 25% containment.
  • Maple Springs: incident NC-NCF-160295. started November 4, 2016. at least 3,500 acres at 9% containment.
  • Avey Branch: incident NC-NCF-160293. started November 4, 2016. at least 1,200 acres at 18% containment.
  • Boteler: incident NC-NCF-160247. started October 25, 3016. 1,713 acres at 30% containment.
  • Washington’s Creek: incident NC-ECA-000029. started November 7, 2016. 100 acres at 50% containment.
  • Knob: incident NC-NCF-160275. started November 3, 2016. 644 acres at 28% containment.

Tennessee Flippers Bend: incident TN-TNS-CD0016. started November 5, 2016. at least 350 acres at 50% containment.

Georgia Rough Ridge (c): incident GA-CHF-160052. started October 16, 2016. at least 6,407 acres at 11% containment.

Arkansas Mountain Creek: incident AR-OZF-000517. started November 2, 2016. Approximately 441 acres at 50% containment.


Some additional sources of information (links to media may expire after several days, all links live on the date I first posted this article):

  • Wildfire Today, November 9, 2016, Wildfire smoke in the southeast United States.
  • Wildfire Today, November 7 2016, Very dry autumn brings numerous wildfires to the southeast.
  • Post and Courier News on smoke plumes from wildfires in TN, NC, and VA.
  • WNCN on evacuations in North Carolina mountains.
  • WLOS on three airtankers working wildfires, information on wildfires in North Carolina mountains.
  • Monday, November 07, 2016

    Mad River Hotshots - 2016 Fire Season

    Continuing with video summaries of wildfire crew's 2016 wildfire season, here is a video from the Mad River Hotshots.

    Direct link to video from Mad River IHC

    Friday, November 04, 2016

    Inside Coulson's "Hawaii" Martin Mars

    I have been busy the last couple of days with some personal business and some computer maintenance. So I thought I'd take this opportunity to share this video that I recently found of a walking tour through Coulson's "Hawaii" Martin Mars. The video, shot be VMC Aviation Videos was shot at Sprout Lake in Vancover British Columbia on September 10, 2015. Enjoy!

    Wednesday, November 02, 2016

    Readings on Aviation -- Female pilots during World War II

    I don't quite recall exactly when I first learned that women both in the United States and Great Britain flew for the war effort. Perhaps it was from a television show or a chance newspaper article that I read many years ago. But whatever I knew about a special group of female aviatrixes, it was not very much.

    I recently shared a video of one of these aviators, a women who flew in Great Britain during World War II (see my October 28th post). In the course of my various readings on aviation over the last few years, I begun to learn a little more. I knew that a group of women pilots, known as Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPS), a paramilitary organization, transported military planes within the United States during the later part of World War II. Many of these planes were to fly overseas as a part of the war effort. For example, a plane would be built, tested if necessary and ready to fly. A WASP pilot would pick up the plane and fly it to a military base where it was assigned to a squadron for deployment over seas. See this wikipedia article for a little history of WASPs. I have done some reading about some of the women who served as WASPs, which I'll get to a little later. What impressed me is that these were a group of women who loved to fly and wanted to help their country. The service of the WASPs was not long, for those women who were in the first classes, their service was less than two years. The first class graduated in early 1943, WASPs were disbanded in December, 1944. While they freed up men for combat overseas, many were disappointed that they were not allowed to fly in combat missions.

    It was during the course of my reading about WASPs that I learned about the group of women pilots in Great Britain, who were a part of the Air Transport Auxiliary (wikipedia), who did similar service. At first they transported military planes within their country, but  towards the end of the war they may have been allowed to transport planes to the European Continent. Women started to fly for the ATA in early 1940. In November 1945, the last women flew as ATA pilots in order to free up jobs for the male pilots returning from combat duty.

    As I learned about these wonderful, skilled, and brave women who transported or ferried military planes during World War II, my respect and admiration for them increased. Many died. They were skilled pilots. They too were away from their families during their service. Some continued to fly after the War, and some did not. Women pilots had fewer options then men in those days. Things are better for women pilots these days, including the fact that women can join the military and fly. These early female aviatrixes,  helped to pave the way for a later generation of female aviatrixes.

    When I go for one of my scenic airplane rides, there is a mural of a WASP standing next to her plane. I think of them every time I go for an airplane ride. I am not a licensed pilot, and in all likelihood never will be. But when I read about their flying and that of the ATA pilots, they take me with them through their words.

    In May of 2016, the United States Congress passed legislation allowing WASPs to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, For more information you might want to check out this Smithsonian Magazine article (May 23, 2016) and a  May 11, 2016 report from National Public Radio. After decades had passed where the WASPs failed to get military recognition for their service, they will receive the military honor of have their cremated remains buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

    For more information on the web

    Books or Kindle Singles I have read. This just touches the surface of what is available, I include this list for your information. I got Kindle editions of all these books, except where noted they are available in other formats.