Nick Benson

N45RF, NOAA's Turbo Commander, prepares to depart for its last flight to Lakeland, FL. The aircraft was primarily used to survey snow and ground water, which helps forecast spring flooding here in the Upper Midwest. It's being replaced by a King Air.

It was an exciting day for aviation enthusiasts in the Twin Cities today, as NOAA's Office of Marine & Aviation Operations had four different aircraft operating here. A P-3 Orion dropped into MSP en-route to Alaska, and a trio of smaller aircraft were at nearby Flying Cloud Airport (FCM) in Eden Prairie, MN, where they'd just wrapped up a series of calibration flights.

Nick Benson

Commander Paul Hemmick and Ensign Alejandro Amezcua were the crew for NOAA45's last flight, FCM-LAL, May 7, 2021.

Nick Benson

Wheels up at FCM for the last time.

Nick Benson

The new King Air, NOAA67 (N67RF), and Twin Otter NOAA46 (N46RF), between flights at FCM.

Nick Benson

Winglet detail on NOAA's King Air.

Nick Benson

NOAA67 (N67RF), a new King Air, will replace the Turbo Commander once its remote sensing equipment is fully calibrated.

Nick Benson

Miss Piggy, one of NOAA's P-3s, arriving at MSP on May 7, 2021. It will spend the night here before continuing to Alaska for GRAV-D.

Nick Benson

Nick lives in Burnsville, MN with his wife and three children. He grooves on railroad and aviation photography, geography, weather, and LEGO. A freelance web developer, he started JetTip's smart flight alert service in 2017. He can frequently be found atop a step ladder at MSP's Aircraft Viewing Area.