Charlie Flagg Aerial Survey

Fire Island National Seashore


CHARLIE FLAGG: When your—when the hurricane is approaching, you're not saying, "Oh, well, there might be a breach." No, you're not thinking about that.

It was sort of in the immediate aftermath, when everybody pops their head up again and says, "Hey, I'm still alive," that you begin to wonder about some of the other aspects.

Brookhaven Airport, opened up a couple of days after the hurricane, and Rich Giannotti and I took that first flight.

We’ve been trying to maintain a photo log, if you will, of what's been going on in the breach ever since.

The big picture goal is understanding breaches in barrier islands.

Most of the flights have been in this plane, this is the Long Island Soaring Association's back up tow plane.

We figured out that if we used a video camera and we mounted it on the plane so it was looking straight down, we could use the individual shots to form a photomosaic.

We fly this back and forth pattern, of seven or eight tracks going across.

Initially, the flight pattern was pretty brief. Well, they've grown by about a factor of three on the flood delta. So now, it takes us about a half an hour to do a flight.

We edit the video data and we send it to one of my colleagues at Stony Brook, Mark Lang, and he runs it through some software and produces the photomosaics.

Once we started looking at our data we could see that this was an interesting feature.

Since this is a wilderness area, nature's been allowed to evolve on its own.

This is a unique opportunity.


Video showcasing the process of surveying the breach formed on Fire Island during Hurricane Sandy.


3 minutes, 32 seconds

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