The Peruvian Air Force, the first “weather woman”
Monitoring weather conditions to create reliable forecasts is part of his life. Warnings about thunderstorms, cloudy skies and any other weather conditions are the daily work of Peruvian Air Force Captain Cynthia Hidalgo Cárdenas, head of the Aeronautical Meteorology Directorate’s forecast department. With his team, Captain Hidalgo analyzes and assesses meteorological phenomena and informs the Peruvian Armed Forces to support the effectiveness of military operations in the country.
Captain Hidalgo, passionate about mathematics, physics and astronomy, spoke with Dialogo about her passion for meteorology, her military career and the advancement of women in the military.
Dialog: What does it mean to be your country’s first female air force meteorologist?
Peruvian Air Force Captain Cynthia Hidalgo Cárdenas, Head of the Forecast Department of the Aeronautical Meteorology Directorate: The challenges of meteorology are currently great; the development and application of computing capabilities, which include the management of software involving different operating systems, the visualization of large amounts of data, programming languages, the interpretation and processing of satellite images, the management numerical weather models, among other things, means that we need continuous training . As such, it is a great responsibility for me to be able to lead a group of junior officers and technicians in the Aeronautical Meteorology specialty, as I must be constantly prepared in subjects related to the study of atmospheric sciences. to direct and guide them. in all the weather advice we provide to our crews.
Dialog: How did your desire to become a meteorologist come about?
Captain Hidalgo: Since my high school years, I have been interested in environmental science and physics courses; Understanding what happens in the atmosphere to cause the different weather phenomena to occur was what caught my attention the most when I was a kid. I decided around the age of 17 to apply for military life, knowing that my only objective was to opt for a career in aeronautical meteorology, because that was what I was most passionate about personally, taking into account constantly changing weather and climate conditions. in our country.
Dialog: What is the importance of the Direction de la Prévision in the execution of Air Force missions?
Captain Hidalgo: In order to fulfill the mission of the Peruvian Air Force, we, as the Directorate of Aeronautical Meteorology, must develop, maintain and conduct meteorological activities in a reliable and timely manner to contribute to the execution of the operations of the Peruvian Air Force. Peruvian Air Force.
Dialog: Do you support other branches of the military forces?
Captain Hidalgo: Yes, in case of need, for naval aviation, for army aviation and for police aviation. We provide 24 hour weather advice.
Dialog: What is your biggest challenge in this order?
Captain Hidalgo: The biggest challenge is being able to lead a good group of technicians in the meteorological specialty, who also have a long track record. In my 10 short years as an officer, while admittedly trained, I value experience as one of a person’s greatest attributes; so, my biggest challenge is to be able to lead them, to be able to train, and to be as assertive with a weather forecast.
Dialog: What strikes you the most in your military profession?
Captain Hidalgo: Being able to serve my country in military operations and actions as a specialist in aeronautical meteorology is what satisfies me the most professionally. Contributing to the planning and execution of military operations by providing timely and adequate weather information so that aircrews can reach different parts of our country and thus support socio-economic development is what fills me with the most personal satisfaction.
Dialog: In your 10 years in the military, how have you seen the advancement of women in the Peruvian Air Force?
Captain Hidalgo: Knowledge is everything. There is no distinction in the institution to qualify for an important position. Currently in the establishment, whoever has control or direction is the most qualified personnel; the more professional skills you have, the more likely you are to be able to compete for the best positions.
Dialog: What was your biggest challenge as a woman in the Peruvian Air Force?
Captain Hidalgo: One of the challenges I encountered in 2018 was when the Air Force referred me to the National Satellite Imagery Operations Center known as CNOIS. I had to go to this unit for a project to develop cloud cover forecasts for our satellite, PeruSat-1. For me it was a challenge because I had no knowledge of satellite image processing, I had not been trained, but my skills as an aeronautical meteorologist and researcher, helped me and made that in about two years, accompanied by a pool of engineers, we were able to implement the development and cloud cover forecast for the PeruSat-1 satellite.
To see the full interview with Peruvian Air Force Captain Cynthia Hidalgo Cárdenas, Head of the Aeronautical Meteorology Directorate Forecast Department, please click on the following link: https://dialogo-americas.com/articles/a-conversation- with-capt-cynthia-hidalgo-of-la-force-aerienne-peruvienne/#.YrHNUy-B1zU