NOAA 2000-R813
Contact: Jeanne Kouhestani


James (Jim) D. DuGranrut takes over today as deputy director of NOAA's Aircraft Operations Center – the organization responsible for maintaining and operating NOAA's fleet of research aircraft and the NOAA "hurricane hunters." He replaces Capt. Robert X. McCann, NOAA Corps, who after two and a half years is being reassigned as the special assistant to the director.

"Mr. DuGranrut brings tremendous experience and talent to his new position, and I am convinced that he will make real and meaningful contributions to the center as he has in his previous position here," said Capt. Bob Maxson, director of the Aircraft Operations Center. "I also offer my thanks to Capt. Bob McCann, the outgoing deputy, for his two and a half years of service and hard work. I have greatly appreciated his constant help and look forward to his future support of the AOC mission. Bob will continue to help us move forward."

Before his appointment as deputy director, DuGranrut served at AOC as chief of the Science and Engineering Division.

DuGranrut began his career at NOAA in 1974, working part time with the Experimental Meteorology Laboratory in Coral Gables, Fla., as an electronics technician, then full time as an electronics engineer.

In 1975 DuGranrut joined NOAA's Research Facilities Center, now known as the Aircraft Operations Center. He flew into his first hurricane, Caroline, in 1975 aboard NOAA's DC-6 research aircraft, and eventually racked up more than 200 penetrations into the eyes of storms. In 1978 DuGranrut moved up to supervisory engineer, then became chief of the Systems Engineering Division, now the Science and Engineering Division, in 1988.

DuGranrut was instrumental in the installation of the first sensors and data acquisition systems on NOAA's two hurricane research aircraft – WP-3D Orions, now affectionately nicknamed "Miss Piggy" and "Kermit."

Before joining NOAA, while attending the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla., DuGranrut worked for the University's Atmospheric Sciences Department designing and operating equipment for experimental Doppler radar systems. These radar systems supported NOAA's rain enhancement (cloud seeding) experiments. He graduated in 1974 with a bachelor's of science degree in electronics engineering. Just 10 days after graduation, DuGranrut departed for two months in Africa to participate, aboard NOAA's research aircraft, in the Global Atmospheric Research Program, Atlantic Tropical Experiment.

DuGranrut and his wife, the former Mary Ochocki, reside in St. Petersburg, Fla. A native of East Central Indiana, DuGranrut is the son of Rosalie DuGranrut and the late Herman H. DuGranrut. Mrs. DuGranrut resides on the family farm near Milton, Ind.

The Aircraft Operations Center, located at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., is part of NOAA's Office of Marine and Aviation Operations. The aircraft are operated, modified and maintained by civilians and NOAA Corps officers. FAA-certified mechanics and technicians maintain and repair the aircraft, both in the field and at AOC. AOC's scientists, meteorologists and engineers develop, build and operate prototype and operational scientific instrumentation on the aircraft.

NOAA aircraft conduct a broad range of missions that include hurricane and atmospheric research, airport obstruction surveys, coastal mapping, snow surveys, and marine mammal and fish surveys. The fleet consists of 14 heavy and light fixed-wing and rotary aircraft.