Terrifying Video Shows Pilots Flying Through Hurricane Ida, Reaching Eye of Storm

Nervous flyers, beware: a video showing two pilots battling the fierce Hurricane Ida has gone viral on Facebook. The alarming clip, shown above, has racked up over 718,000 views and nearly 6,000 reactions since the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hurricane Hunters first shared it on Sunday.

NOAA's Hurricane Hunters use specially-equipped aircraft to fly directly into storms—in doing so, they are able to collect crucial meteorological data.

The job certainly requires guts, but as Jack Parrish of the NOAA told Newsweek last month, "there are atmospheric conditions in tropical cyclones that make them essentially safe to fly through with a sturdy aircraft and well-trained crew."

"It's bumpy for sure at times, but we're well harnessed and secure in the cabin," said Parrish. "It's essential to get through these rough areas to obtain the strongest surface winds and the lowest pressure to transmit to the National Hurricane Center."

Added Paul Flaherty, NOAA Flight Director and Meteorologist: "We train our crews to be quick thinkers, and to be able to adapt to rapidly changing situations. Still, there are reasons why most people would not purposely fly a plane through a hurricane eyewall, and we should never lose sight of that."

The clip of the Hurricane Hunters at work has caught the attention of viewers on social media, with many stunned by the difficult conditions endured by the pilots.

Truck in Hurricane Ida
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hurricane Hunters released a video of pilots flying through Hurricane Ida that has been viewed over 700,000 times. A truck in the heavy winds and rain of Hurricane Ida in Bourg, Louisiana. MARK FELIX/AFP/Getty Images

The footage, filmed from the backseat of the aircraft, shows the pilots navigating the intense turbulence caused by the storm. Hardly anything outside their windows is visible amid the brutal conditions.

However, about 45 seconds into the clip, the scene changes: the pilots reach the eye of the storm. The shaky conditions begin to ease up, and a blue sky emerges overhead. Viewers catch a glimpse into the center of the storm, where enormous, sweeping clouds circle the plane.

Hundreds of viewers flocked to the comments section with reactions ranging from amazed to petrified.

"There [aren't] enough motion sickness meds to get me on that plane," wrote one commenter.

Another described the footage as "one of nature's most breathtaking views."

Many more called the aircraft's pilots "heroes."

According to the NOAA Hurricane Hunters' caption on the video, the footage was recorded August 29 on their WP-3D Orion #NOAA43 aircraft, which is nicknamed "Miss Piggy." They were reportedly flying over the Gulf of Mexico at the time.

Hurricane Ida has caused widespread destruction since it made landfall in Louisiana on Sunday. As of Wednesday, over 980,000 Louisiana residents were still without power. While significant, the number comes as a decrease from Monday's report, when 1,042,398 were reported to have lost power.

Updated 09/1/2021, 4:26 p.m. ET: This story has been updated with a verified video from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hurricane Hunters.