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Sun, Apr 18, 2021

Twin Otter Brings NOAA Mission To The Public

Flying The Twin Otter Is "Like A Big Jeep"

A fly-in's ramp is constantly changing, but the warbird ramp at Sun 'n Fun saw a big update Friday with the addition of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Twin Otter, complete with pilots who are all elated to be showing it off.

One such pilot is Kennieth Brewer--NOAA Corps Ensign, Public Affairs Officer, and De Havilland DHC-6-300 Twin Otter Pilot--greeting the Sun 'n Fun public with enthusiasm.

Through flying the Twin Otter, ENS Brewer was able to combine his passion for biology, environment, and aviation in his position as an NOAA Corps officer.

ENS Brewer flies the Twin Otter, one of four in the fleet. He works on marine surveys, air chemistry, coastal mapping, snow surveys, whale surveys, and more.

Flying the Twin Otter is "like a big jeep," ENS Brewer said.

"People love to talk about the NOAA mission outside of hurricane season. They are always amazed at the variety of missions that NOAA flies."

NOAA's Aircraft Operations Center is based right here at the Lakeland Linder International Airport, where Sun 'n Fun is held. This is about the time when new officers are trained coming out of the winter season, and they are all excited to get back into the groove of flying.

"We love Sun 'n Fun. It's our way to reach out to the local community," ENS Brewer said.

The ensign, a Lakeland native, is excited not only to bring his aircraft onto display, but to be at Sun 'n Fun in general.

"It's a way to get the community and the international community together. You think of a medium-sized city in the center of a state, but at Sun 'n Fun you realize that seven different languages are being spoken on the same exact ramp, and we're all talking about the same exact random engine on a plane from the 1930s," ENS Brewer said.

NOAA, the eighth uniformed service of the United States, is here with their booth and new display to show the public all that there is to the corps.

"We do so much more than hurricanes. As a matter of fact, hurricanes are the smallest amount of time we spend in the air," ENS Brewer said.

With a new congressional action, the NOAA corps, which currently sits at around 320 officers, will expand its numbers to 500. As the smalled flying corps with just 35 flying aviators, this expansion is a moment of excitement for all.



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