As NOAA celebrates its 50th Anniversary in 2020, there is renewed interest in expanding Oral Histories as a key component of the agency’s overall Heritage Program. Through Oral Histories, we will capture the theme: Celebrating the People Behind NOAA - 50 Years of Science, Service and Stewardship.
Dr. James McFadden was born in Winchester, Virginia, in 1934. He graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and graduated with a degree in geology. In 1960, James was offered a research assistantship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's meteorology program. He spent five years in Madison and earned his PhD in meteorology. In 1965, McFadden came to work for the Environmental Science Services Administration's Sea-Air Laboratory, part of the Office of Meteorological Research in Washington, D.C. as a research scientist. His first flight with NOAA's hurricane hunters was accidental. It was a research flight that took place during Hurricane Inez in 1966. James would go on to fly into the eye of 574 storms, earning a Guinness World Record for longest career as a hurricane hunter. He currently serves as Chief of Programs and Projects at NOAA's Aircraft Operations Center.
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