Delta Pilot Flies Through Hurricane Irma To Get Last Commercial Flight Out Of San Juan: Gothamist

Hurricane Irma (Courtesy of NOAA)

While Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc in the Caribbean, one brave (crazy?) Delta pilot flew right through Irma’s outer band so he could pick passengers up in San Juan, Puerto Rico and get them out before the brunt of the storm hit. I can only imagine his conversation with his co-pilot went something like this:

Flight 431 was scheduled to head from John F. Kennedy Airport to San Juan at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, just as the storm swirled in the Caribbean. There were only about 30 people on the flight down, but after refueling for only 50 minutes, the flight (now Flight 302) got 173 people onboard (plus the crew) and flew back to New York through the storm. It was pretty nuts to watch through radar:

The flight made it to JFK on time—30 minutes ahead of schedule, in fact—and managed to be the last commercial flight out of San Juan before the airport shut down to prepare for the storm. A pretty impressive feat, though as Wired points out, what was most impressive was how quickly the crew in San Juan managed to turn the flight around.

Erik Snell, Vice President of Delta Operations and Customer Center, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in a statement, “Our meteorology team is the best in the business. They took a hard look at the weather data and the track of the storm and worked with the flight crew and dispatcher to agree it was safe to operate the flight.”

He added, “And our flight and ground crews were incredible in their effort to turn the aircraft quickly and safely so the flight could depart well before the hurricane threat.”

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