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NOAA Hurricane Hunter Plane Out Of Commission

Jack Parrish / NOAA
A maintainer services an engine on NOAA's Gulfstream IV-SP jet.

An important storm tracking jet, known as a hurricane hunter, is out of commission in the midst of a busy hurricane season.

According to a statement from US Senator Bill Nelson, the Gulfstream IV jet - nicknamed "Gonzo" - has had mechanical problems three times in the past 10 days. It is the only National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration plane that can fly into storms at higher altitudes to record data.

NOAA officials have not said when "Gonzo" may be back in operation, but the Washington Post reports it could be as soon as next week.

Nelson has been critical in the past about the maintenance for this plane and the two other hurricane hunters that are based at Lakeland Linder Airport.

Earlier this year, President Trump signed off on a law requiring there be a backup plane for the hurricane hunters.