Black Hills Pioneer, Adam Torres, December 22, 2005
RAPID CITY - Not too many people have flown a plane through the middle of a powerful thunderstorm - intentionally, that is.
Tom Warner knows what it's like. Warner says he isn't a thrill seeker - he's just a pilot and weather enthusiast.
In 2000 he was approached by Charlie Summer, pilot of the T-28 airplane owned by the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Summer was looking for someone to fly the plane into thunderstorms. It has led to a lot of aerial adventure for the Rapid City man.
The plane was used from 1972 to 2003 to gather scientific readings regarding how a thunderstorm forms hail. SDSM&T plans to donate it to the Strategic Air Command Museum in Omaha, Neb.
The article also notes that it was featured on the Discovery Channel. Does anyone have some details on this? I would love to track that episode down.
Here are some more details on the aircraft and some pictures of what hail and lightning can do to a 50 year old aircraft.