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Q&A: Who provides hurricane hunter planes?

Storm flying a federal effort

Who trains the crew and equips the planes that fly into hurricanes during the season?

The hurricane hunter planes that investigate storms are part of the Air Force Reserve's 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, based at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Miss.

The airplanes (WC-130J) and crews are military, part of the Department of Defense, but the Department of Commerce, which encompasses the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Hurricane Center, sets the working plan. The hurricane hunter planes follow the National Hurricane Operations Plan, which specifies that the 53rd squadron will support round-the-clock operations and have the ability to fly up to three storms at a time with a response time of 16 hours, according to www.hurricanehunters.com.

There are 10 full-time crews and 10 part-time crews. The full-timers are Air Reserve technicians, and the part-timers are regular reservists.

In July, the Weather Channel will start a series called Hurricane Hunters that will follow the pilots through their work.

Four-star U.S. military women

An Air Force general was nominated to command Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. Did she receive her fourth star and can you tell us how many female generals are on active duty in the Air Force?

Janet C. Wolfenbarger was approved by the U.S. Senate earlier this year to become the first female four-star general in U.S. Air Force history. Wolfenbarger is in charge of the Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. She is the second female four-star general in the history of the U.S. armed forces, following Army Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody, who received her fourth star in 2008.

Wolfenbarger is one of 27 female generals in the Air Force, a group that includes her, three lieutenant generals, 12 major generals and 11 brigadier generals, according to the Air Force Times.

No, you can't deduct political gifts

Are campaign donations tax deductible?

No. We checked with the Office of Campaign Finance, which said: "Campaign contributions are not tax deductible. For further information, contact the Internal Revenue Service."

The IRS is also clear on this. From its website:

"You cannot deduct contributions made to a political candidate, a campaign committee or a newsletter fund. Advertisements in convention bulletins and admissions to dinners or programs that benefit a political party or political candidate are not deductible."

You also may not deduct donations to political organizations that are disguised as something else, such as religious organizations, charities, newsletter funds, relief organizations and 501(c) tax-exempt groups that the IRS decides are used to collect money for a political campaign.

And in case you were wondering, political bribes also are not tax deductible.

Q&A: Who provides hurricane hunter planes? 06/18/12 [Last modified: Monday, June 18, 2012 6:38pm]
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