Weather flight keeps an eye on the sky

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Angela Ruiz
  • 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
A quick look through the window can show most Wolf Pack members just how quickly Kunsan's weather can change.

And while changing weather conditions can affect how Airmen perform their duties on the ground, the weather has an even greater effect on those in the air. That's where the 8th Operations Support Squadron Weather Flight comes in.

"Weather is a crucial part of the mission," said Capt. Brett Cimbora, 8th OSS, Weather Flight commander.

The weather Airmen provide the latest meteorological data to Kunsan's pilots using live data from satellites, radars, local observations and for longer range forecasts they use a model data provided from the Air Force Weather Agency.

"In this day and age, like most people, we rely heavily on the Internet to receive most of the information that we use," said Tech. Sgt. Nathan Taylor, NCO in charge of the flight. "A lot of our forecasting information originates from the 17th Operational Weather Squadron located at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, they provide us with large scale forecasting models that we use to tailor the forecast for the Kunsan mission."

According to Sergeant Taylor the Air Force has a weather flight at every base that has flying assets. Aircraft will always be affected by the weather conditions so the pilots need to know what conditions to expect to adjust accordingly. Depending on the weather, the pilots may have to either change munitions or change their mission location.

"If there are clouds pilots cannot use weapons guided by lasers or visual sensors depending on the time of day," said Captain Cimbora "certain targets will emit and absorb heat, pilots need to know what temperature it is so they can recognize it."

As well as supporting Kunsan's flying operations, the weather Airmen also provide information to Airmen on the ground including the 8th Civil Engineer and Security Forces Squadrons.

"We support CE by helping them determine the amount of snow fall, so they can prepare the snow removal teams," said Sergeant Taylor. "We assist [them] with monthly temperature averages which help them determine when the heat or air conditioning should or should not be used."

"We give support to the security forces Squadron by forecasting the local conditions that will affect the sensor packages around the base," he added.

The 10 Airmen assigned to Kunsan's Weather Flight keep teh section running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and work hand-in-hand with Republic of Korea Air Force weather personnel.

"They will help us with the forecast and we'll help them," said Sergeant Taylor. "99% of the time we have the same forecast, but once in a great while we'll run into that 1% where we'll just have to agree to disagree."

"Every single member of this flight is brilliant!" Said Captain Cimbora, "They have amazed me time and time again with their professionalism and knowledge of the weather and how it affects the mission, I'm proud to serve with them"