April 9, 1997 Meeting

The meeting was held at the Mississippi State University in Starkville. The guest speaker was Melvin Swartzberg, former pilot and engineer with The Thunderstorm Project. The group then took a tour of the Mississippi State University Broadcast Meteorology Program.

Meeting Minutes

The third regular meeting of the chapter was held on Tuesday, 9 April 1997 on the campus of Mississippi State University (MSU) in Starkville, Mississippi.

Chapter President Paul Croft conducted a short business meeting, including an announcement that he is accepting nominations for next year’s local chapter officers. He reminded chapter members that AMS Headquarters requires that the local chapter president must be an AMS member.

Melvin Swartzberg, former pilot and engineer with The Thunderstorm Project, which was conducted near Orlando, Florida, and in Ohio during 1946-47, presented the program for the evening. Swartzberg, a Starkville resident and a chapter member, presented an overview of what The Thunderstorm Project was and its goals. He began with a discussion of the sailplanes that were towed under developing cumulonimbus clouds and then allowed to ride the updrafts through the cloud to collect data on thunderstorms. He also mentioned some of the problems and dangers associated with the project, including snakes in the planes, lightning strikes, hail damage, and icing of the planes. Swartzberg explained that the project later used P61s with instructor pilots that would enter developing thunderstorms at 1000-ft intervals collecting data.

After Swartzberg’s presentation, the group viewed a videotape on the Broadcast Meteorology Program at MSU, which is headed by Mark Binkley. Binkley said that the program has both on-campus and off-campus capabilities for students and is specifically designed for broadcast media personnel. According to Binkley, a number of on-camera meteorologists at TV stations, radio stations, and cable channels across the country are graduates of the MSU Broadcast Meteorology Program.

Dave Arnold of the MSU facility, and Brent Neal, Jim Loznicka, and Ross Runner – all MSU students – gave a tour of the MSU facilities. The MSU meteorology program currently produces weather programs for a local cable channel and on-campus broadcasts using state-of-the-art technology.

Minutes submitted by Rusty Pfost.

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