The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is a scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce which studies the conditions of oceans and the atmosphere. Among their line offices are the National Weather Service.
Beginning in the early 1990s, the Aircraft Operations Center has a tradition of naming their aircraft after Muppet characters. The first WP-3D Orion turboprop airplane in the fleet was nicknamed Miss Piggy. In an attempt to overhaul the aircraft (then known as the pig) with a cleaner and tidier appearance, the crew looked to Miss Piggy and her fastidious attitude about her own appearance for inspiration. The crew created their own logo for use inside the plane, but soon Production Controller and Flight Engineer Greg Bast contacted Michael Frith about involvement from Jim Henson Productions.
Frith suggested that Kermit the Frog would be a wonderful addition for the other P-3 in their fleet, and soon designs based on World War II nose art were completed. Henson employees were on hand at the Miami, Florida facility for the formal unveiling, which was done by Frith himself.
In 1996, permission was once again granted for another addition to the fleet, a Gulfstream-IV (G-IV) jet. Because of the plane's non-standard nose radome, Gonzo was chosen to represent the aircraft.
A new P-3 was acquired in 2009 from a aircraft "boneyard," and the refurbished plane is expected to enter into service in 2010. Continuing the tradition, the plane has been dubbed Animal.
Stickers of the logos were available to visitors of the facility and aircrafts.
- Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, and Gonzo Go Flying with NOAA's Hurricane Hunter Aircraft
- Dr. Jeff Masters' WunderBlog, June 08, 2010