NOAA 2006-R828
Contact: Jeanne Kouhestani
NOAA News Releases 2006
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NOAA Corps Capt. Philip Kenul assumed command today of the NOAA Aircraft Operations Center in Tampa, Fla., relieving NOAA Corps Capt. Stephen Kozak, who served two years as commanding officer. The center, located on MacDill Air Force Base, is home to most of NOAA’s 12 research aircraft, including the NOAA WP-3D Orion “hurricane hunter” aircraft and Gulfstream-IV hurricane surveillance jet.

Kenul joined the NOAA Corps in 1981 after working as an engineer at the Texas Department of Water Resources. His NOAA experience includes hydrographic surveys aboard the NOAA ship Whiting, flights into hurricanes as a pilot of a NOAA WP-3D Orion “hurricane hunter,” and assignments at AOC as heavy aircraft coordinator, special projects officer, chief of flight management, chief of the aircraft maintenance branch, and chief of the flight edit and air photo sections of the aeronautical chart branch. At NOAA headquarters in Silver Spring, Md., Kenul served as the first director of NOAA’s Homeland Security Program office, which was established after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Kenul is a native of Plainview, N.Y., and a 1981 graduate of the University of Texas. He holds a master’s degree in environmental and engineering science. He resides in Tampa, Fla., with his wife, Donna DiFalco, and daughter, Emily.

AOC is charged with the management of NOAA research aircraft, personnel, budget and aircraft facilities. AOC is part of NOAA Marine and Aviation Operations, which includes civilians as well as officers of the NOAA Corps, one of the nation’s seven uniformed services. NOAA Corps pilots and navigators and civilian flight engineers, meteorologists and electronic engineers are highly trained to operate NOAA’s hurricane aircraft during the most severe weather conditions. Much of the scientific instrumentation flown aboard NOAA aircraft is designed, built, assembled and calibrated by AOC’s science and engineering division.

In 2007 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, celebrates 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

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