‘Chance of a lifetime:’ Oshkosh native flies into eye of Hurricane Florence

SAVANNAH, Ga. -- A Wisconsin man was given the rare opportunity to go straight into the eye of Hurricane Florence. Technical Sergeant Chris Hibben is a combat photographer with the Air Force Reserve. The Oshkosh native was in Savannah, Georgia when he got asked to go on an unforgettable flight.

"Pretty amazing kind of trip, a chance of a lifetime type thing," said TSgt. Chris Hibben.

Hibben was behind the camera documenting the hurricane from the take-off straight through the eyewall.

Chris Hibben

"You can feel the airplane go up and down and it hits turbulence and everything, but then you punch through the wall," said Hibben.

Hibben was on board a WC-130J Hercules as weather data was collected for the National Hurricane Center. He says the five-and-a-half hour flight through the hurricane was surprisingly calm for most of the trip.

"Then when you get really close to the eyewall, probably like 30 miles from the eyewall, it gets more and more bumpy," Hibben said.

Hibben documented the heavy cloud cover and water below; even the serenity of the incredible storm.

"It was just beautiful to see," said Hibben.

As the combat photographer was up above, his thoughts were with those on land.

"I can only imagine what the people are going through while I'm up in the air," said Hibben.

Taking a different perspective and giving the world an up-close view of a powerful storm.

"It's important to do that because it can save lives eventually," said Hibben.

HIbben will next be headed to Virginia and North Carolina to help support the recovery efforts there. He'll be back home in Oshkosh later this month.