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SPINSTRA visits National Weather Service

National Weather Service Lead Forecaster, Patrick McCullough speaks about different radar signatures to 312th Training Squadron students at the NWS building in San Angelo, Texas, Nov. 7, 2018. The 312th TRS special instruments training students visited the NWS to receive hands-on training on the Doppler radar operated by NWS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zachary Chapman/Released)

National Weather Service Lead Forecaster, Patrick McCullough speaks about different radar signatures to 312th Training Squadron students at the NWS building in San Angelo, Texas, Nov. 7, 2018. The 312th TRS special instruments training students visited the NWS to receive hands-on training on the Doppler radar operated by NWS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zachary Chapman/Released)

National Weather Service Meteorologist in Charge, Steve Lyons discusses the science behind their Doppler radar with 312th Training Squadron students at the NWS building in San Angelo, Texas, Nov. 7, 2018. The 312th TRS special instruments training students curriculum shares similarities with that of the NWS, due to their use of radar signals and the interpretation of those signals. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zachary Chapman/Released)

National Weather Service Meteorologist in Charge, Steve Lyons discusses the science behind their Doppler radar with 312th Training Squadron students at the NWS building in San Angelo, Texas, Nov. 7, 2018. The 312th TRS special instruments training students curriculum shares similarities with that of the NWS, due to their use of radar signals and the interpretation of those signals. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zachary Chapman/Released)

SAN ANGELO, Texas -- Students of the 312th Training Squadron special instruments training, visited the National Weather Service in San Angelo, Texas, Nov. 7.

SPINSTRA students toured the NWS building to receive hands-on demonstrations of the Doppler radar housed there. Students were able to examine live readings and get a breakdown of previous storms and what the readings meant.

“We briefed the basics of radar and satellite interpretation as it applies to weather forecasting,” said National Weather Service Meteorologist in Charge, Steve Lyons. “The theories that I talked on are universal. In the broader spectrum, you see how remote sensing devices are used for various purposes, this can give you ideas on how it can be applied in other areas. The students also may not know some of the things that we tell them about, and that information may be applicable for military interpretation and the radars that they will be looking at.”

The 312th TRS students apply leading edge physical science knowledge to perform maintenance, research and development, laboratory operations and fielding of sensors. They also collect, process and analyze scientific data to derive, develop, integrate and report information on systems and platforms.

“We teach our students about radars, here they have a Doppler radar that we get to observe,” said Staff Sgt. Jonathan Bahr, 312th TRS instructor. “They get to learn about the different types of radar signatures that the Doppler receives and how [NWS] uses that. NWS uses water and how it interacts with the atmosphere, but we use those same types of returning signals when we are looking at aircraft or other entities.”

Because of the similarities between how NWS and SPINSTRA uses their radar, the 312th TRS has visited the NWS several times before.

“We always enjoy sharing, especially with Goodfellow,” said Lyons. “We began this about 3 to 4 years ago, my science and operations officer originally worked with an instructor at Goodfellow to start this. I do the scientific discussion and I let my science and operations officer do the hands on demonstrations.”

It’s because of the relationship between Goodfellow and San Angelo that opportunities like these present themselves.

“We appreciate them being able to support us and allow us to give hands-on knowledge to our students, this adds to their education and their ability to support the military as a whole,” said Bahr.