Storm Chase May 18, 2012: Arrival in Wichita, Kansas


chase images and log by William T. Hark, M.D. Video (HD) and pictures available for licensing


Storm Chase 2012 started in Wichita, Kansas. The actual flights were easy and short; however, the most difficult part of the trip was the packing. Unlike many of my friends who drive to Tornado Alley, I fly and have to fit all my equipment into one checked bag, carry on and personal item. I have to prioritize equipment that is expensive or not easily replaceable to the carry on. Weight is also an issue. My checked bag was exactly 50 pounds. Anything more would have been at least $90. Some of that weight were individual paper atlases for each state in Tornado Alley. I am very old fashioned and like having the paper maps as a backup.

A partial list of equipment:

Laptop loaded with Delorme mapping, XM WxWorx Satellite weather, GrLevel3 radar, multiple photo and video editing programs, Skype GPS antenna
Separately powered WxWorx receiver and antenna
Two power inverters
Sony Z1 Professional HD Camcorder
Canon HV20 HD Dashcam with wide-angle attachment lens
Large heavy tripod
Metal dash-mount for Canon video camera
Nikon D200
Small Canon S100 point and shoot camera
GoPro Hero cam for interior shots
Yaezu Ham radio
Cradlepoint powered mobile wifi hotspot and antenna
Weather and Ham radio scanner
Dewpoint/Temperature and Wind monitor
Safety goggles for flying glass in case of large hail
Seven state atlases

Each camera or other powered equipment comes with separate chargers, cables, batteries and I usually have backups.

I arrived in the afternoon and picked up my rental car. After reviewing data, I decided to stay at the Wichita Inn and use the afternoon to set up and test the equipment. I had dinner at my favorite Wichita restaurant, Hangar One steakhouse. This restaurant is decorated in military, civilian and racing aviation memorabilia. I sat in the “tower,” which is their bar that resembles an actual control tower with great views of the airplanes landing at the airport. I’ll remember this view in case I am ever watching a tornado from Wichita.

Go to May 19, 2012 Kansas Tornadoes

All images Copyright 2012 William T. Hark