The End of the 2011 Hurricane Season and a Career, Monday, December 5th, 2011

By: Randy Bynon , 4:47 PM GMT on December 05, 2011

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     We have come to the end of yet another hurricane season and, as predicted, it was a busy one, at least in terms of the number of storms we had. There were an unusually low number of landfalls but we won't complain about that. You can read Dr. Master's blog for the the stats for the 2011 season. It was my 15th season with the Hurricane Hunters and my last. I am retiring from the AF Reserves as of December 31st and I flew my last flight on Friday, December 2nd. I'll post the pictures here. And this was my last dropsdonde report from the plane:

UZNT13 KNHC 021810
XXAA 52184 99285 70873 08187 99027 20456 09013 00226 17847 08517
92887 11803 10016 85591 07205 12013 70191 05478 07510 50585 10377
29515 40755 20565 28038 88999 77999
31313 09608 81750
61616 AF300 WXWXA 111202160150300 OB 10
62626 SPL 2848N08728W 1801 MBL WND 08517 AEV 20802 DLM WND 05503
026398 WL150 08515 084 REL 2848N08728W 175054 SPG 2848N08728W 180
116 LAST FOR RB THANKS FOR THE RIDE
XXBB 52188 99285 70873 08187 00027 20456 11928 12004 22850 07205
33826 05814 44822 06837 55816 08673 66812 09077 77774 10299 88727
07277 99519 08599 11502 10376 22471 11196 33413 17767 44398 21164
21212 00027 09013 11009 08518 22937 09019 33869 10511 44856 09512
55850 12013 66843 13013 77811 08016 88722 10014 99704 07511 11632
01503 22562 30015 33524 31010 44507 29013 55484 30018 66432 27524
77398 28040
31313 09608 81750
61616 AF300 WXWXA 111202160150300 OB 10
62626 SPL 2848N08728W 1801 MBL WND 08517 AEV 20802 DLM WND 05503
026398 WL150 08515 084 REL 2848N08728W 175054 SPG 2848N08728W 180
116 LAST FOR RB THANKS FOR THE RIDE

     My AF career started in August 1984 when I enlisted as an aircraft electrician. After tech school in Chanute AFB, IL, my first assignment was working on C-130s at Little Rock AFB, AR. I spent three years there and when I was given the opportunity to retrain, I did so, switching to the weather career field in 1988. I spent a year at Chanute AFB again getting through a rather grueling tech school before moving to Ellsworth AFB, SD in 1989. I learned a LOT about weather there. South Dakota has just about every kind of weather you can think of from blizzards to hail to tornadoes to dust storms to fog.. pretty much everything. And it was a great learning experience for me. In 1991 I was transferred to Spangdahlem AB, Germany. That was probably one of my best assignments but also one of the most challenging when it came to weather forecasting. Spangdahlem lies in the heart of the Eiffel Region of central Germany. Fog was a common problem there and wasn't always easy to forecast. I remember one year going down to near zero visibility in fog for two straight weeks. After three years in Germany I then moved to Fairchild AFB in Spokane, WA. While perhaps a bit easier to forecast, Faichild had the distinction at the time of being the only base with a cold fog dispersal system. We literally had some small degree of control over the weather. It took a very specific set of conditions to exist to use the system, but when we could use it, it worked great. We could go from zero visibility to 1 mile in a matter of minutes, then back to zero when the system was turned off. But that was enough to let planes land and take off.

     I left active duty AF in 1995 to take a civilian job with the Department of Defense at Homestead ARS, FL. I was basically hired to do exactly the same job for the same employer but now I was doing it for more money in civilian clothes with no threat of deployment and I was doing it in a fairly easy to forecast tropical location. What more could a weather guy ask for? I had to admit, it did get a bit boring! So, to alleviate the boredom, and avoid losing 11 years of service time, I transferred to the AF Reserves in 1996 and started flying with the Hurricane Hunters out of Keesler AFB, MS.   That has been a dream job for someone who loves weather AND flying! And I've gotten to indulge in my real passion, photography, along the way in an environment few people get to take pictures in!  

     And so this year I end that career. I'll still be working with the folks I flew with. My civilian job is as a flight simulator instructor here at Keesler so I still train the same crews that I have flown with. And I work with the Hurricane Hunters Association maintaining the HurricaneHunters.Com web site. So I am not leaving, merely changing rolls. I hope to obtain press credentials from WU and the HHA which would allow me to fly storms with the unit as a media person and report back to you what I see! We'll see.

     It's been a great career and while it is somewhat bittersweet to see it end, I do look forward to a bright future with my wife, my job, my photography, and my friends!

    I hope to have more time now to keep my blog here updated (I know I've been very bad about that) and I do plan to continue to do this! Thanks to all my fans here who have been very understanding of the gaps! :-)

Thanks,

Randy 
    

My Fini Flight (LRandyB)
Every gathers on the flight line waiting for my flight to land.
My Fini Flight
My Fini Flight (LRandyB)
My wife, kids, grandkids, and friends wait for my plane to pull in.
My Fini Flight
My Fini Flight (LRandyB)
I cautiously exit the crew door. I let the rest of the crew get off the plane first so they didn't have to worry about getting caught in the deluge!
My Fini Flight
My Fini Flight (LRandyB)
My wife (with a bottle of champagne) and my oldest daughter (with a water fire extinguisher) douse me.
My Fini Flight
My Fini Flight (LRandyB)
A couple of my fellow loadmasters get in on the act with a couple of igloos filled with very cold water!!!
My Fini Flight
My Fini Flight (LRandyB)
They did a god job!Dousing the crew member after their last flight is an old AF tradition.
My Fini Flight
My Fini Flight (LRandyB)
Afterwards, all the squadron members file by to congratulate me on the flight and my retirement starting with the aircraft commander from my last flight.
My Fini Flight

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16. LakeWorthFinn
5:13 AM GMT on December 23, 2011
Happy Holidays and a wonderful 2012 to you and your loved ones!

~~~~♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥~~~~


Member Since: October 6, 2005 Posts: 67 Comments: 7388
15. Randy Bynon , Dropsonde SysOp/AVAPS PM
8:42 PM GMT on December 13, 2011
Quoting TealRetired:
Congratulations Randy! Don't be surprised if you wake up on a few "drill weekends" thinking you're supposed to be somewhere. Glad the simulator job worked out as well - it's a great way to pass your knowledge and skills along to the next generation.


Thanks Teal! I was ready for it! And yes, the Sim job is a great way to stay "in the loop" with the folks I've flown with!
Member Since: July 17, 2001 Posts: 190 Comments: 2012
14. TealRetired
4:08 PM GMT on December 13, 2011
Congratulations Randy! Don't be surprised if you wake up on a few "drill weekends" thinking you're supposed to be somewhere. Glad the simulator job worked out as well - it's a great way to pass your knowledge and skills along to the next generation.
Member Since: July 20, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 12
13. Randy Bynon , Dropsonde SysOp/AVAPS PM
4:13 PM GMT on December 10, 2011
Quoting code1:
Thanks buddy, for your service. I'll throw a virtual ice bath as well not staying up late watching your flights land! You, all your fellow HH teammates have given us more info than we even thought possible over the past few years via WU. I salute you all! Job well done Airmen!!!!!!!!!

Now, when y'all coming over for some more play time? :-)


Thanks Code! When are you gonna be home?? LOL
Member Since: July 17, 2001 Posts: 190 Comments: 2012
12. code1
2:19 AM GMT on December 10, 2011
Thanks buddy, for your service. I'll throw a virtual ice bath as well not staying up late watching your flights land! You, all your fellow HH teammates have given us more info than we even thought possible over the past few years via WU. I salute you all! Job well done Airmen!!!!!!!!!

Now, when y'all coming over for some more play time? :-)
Member Since: September 18, 2005 Posts: 66 Comments: 13872
11. Randy Bynon , Dropsonde SysOp/AVAPS PM
7:26 PM GMT on December 09, 2011

Quoting BrowardJeff:


Congrats on the 'retirement'..and let me echo the thanks from others.


Do a lot of retired HHers end up with press credentials and get to fly as civilians?


-Jeff



Thanks! None have before that I am aware of!
Member Since: July 17, 2001 Posts: 190 Comments: 2012
10. BrowardJeff
1:21 PM GMT on December 09, 2011


Congrats on the 'retirement'..and let me echo the thanks from others.


Do a lot of retired HHers end up with press credentials and get to fly as civilians?


-Jeff
Member Since: August 30, 2008 Posts: 5 Comments: 938
9. cyclonebuster
11:07 PM GMT on December 06, 2011
Great job Randy! Hopefully,one day you may decide to work on one of tunnels as crew electrical supervisor! LOL!
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20402
8. originalLT
10:45 PM GMT on December 06, 2011
Thank you Randy for your service. I'm happy you'll be doing something that you still enjoy, and I hope you get those "press credentials" so you can go back up. Job well done! LT Stamford CT.
Member Since: January 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 7713
7. Misogynist
12:58 PM GMT on December 06, 2011
Appreciate what you've done. I got out of AF in 1985. Fun times especially at Clark PI.
Member Since: May 27, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 33
6. Randy Bynon , Dropsonde SysOp/AVAPS PM
12:25 PM GMT on December 06, 2011

Quoting LakeWorthFinn:
Thank you for your stories, pics and updates, it has been a privilege to follow you on WU :)
Thanks! You'll still be able to follow me! I hope to have more time to do more blogging now!
Member Since: July 17, 2001 Posts: 190 Comments: 2012
5. LakeWorthFinn
11:10 AM GMT on December 06, 2011
Thank you for your stories, pics and updates, it has been a privilege to follow you on WU :)
Member Since: October 6, 2005 Posts: 67 Comments: 7388
3. Raysfan70
11:57 PM GMT on December 05, 2011
Thank you Randy!!
Enjoy your retirement (we'll some what of a retirement).

Knowing you, you will find something to take it's place.

Time for Ronda to get the long Honey do list.

Thank you again,
Roberta, Robbie, Robert
Member Since: July 28, 2005 Posts: 138 Comments: 57354
2. JPCSTORM
8:35 PM GMT on December 05, 2011
Thank you for your service.
Member Since: July 12, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 67
1. SPLbeater
8:08 PM GMT on December 05, 2011
Hope you enjoyed flying with the HH, must have been very exciting and adreneline pumping! Have a good week Randy!
Member Since: August 4, 2011 Posts: 46 Comments: 4488

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About LRandyB

I was an AF aviation weather forecaster for 12 years, then 15 years as a dropsonde systems operator with the AF Reserve Hurricane Hunters.

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