Air International 2007-10
D.Willis - NASA's Airliners - From Transports to Test-beds /Commercial/
NASA acquired its DC-8-72 N436NA from Alitalia in 1985 for use as a flying science laboratory by the Ames Research Center based at Moffett Field, California. The aircraft remained with Ames until 1997, when it moved to the Dryden Flight Research Center.
NASA has two Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft; N905NA is seen here transporting 'Columbia' from the production facility at Palmdale, California, to the Kennedy Space Center in March 2001. Note the tailplane endplates that were fitted to offset the destabilising effects of the Shuttle.
NASA's Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) Boeing 747SP-21, N747NA, developed in conjunction with Germany's DLR, is seen here whilst undertaking its maiden flight on April 26, 2007 following conversion at Waco, Texas, where it had been rolled out last September following extensive modifications.
This photograph of NASA and German Aerospace Research Establishment’s 747SP N747NA SOFIA was taken during its first flight on April 26, 2007. The door within which the telescope is housed can be seen midway between the wing trailing edge and tailplane.
Providing scale to NASA's Aero Spacelines 377 NGT-207F Super Guppy Turbine N941NA,members of the flight and ground crews prepare to unload equipment at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards AFB.
Among the research tasks carried out by the much-modified Boeing 757-225 N557NA ARIES, are studies into the reduced separation distance of two aircraft landing in poor visibility, winter runway friction research and developing synthetic vision systems.
NASA's four Beech 200s are flown from the Goddard Space Flight Center, Dryden Flight Research Center and the Langley Research Center, where N529NA is based. The four civilian aircraft have recently been augmented by a former Navy UC-12B. Initially acquired to be corporate shuttles between NASA's sites, the aircraft have also been used as research platforms in their own right.
N945NA was the fourth Gulfstream II (STA) delivered to NASA, entering service in its Shuttle training configuration during 1989. Prior to then it had been used to evaluate a propfan mounted on the port wing and powered by an Allison 570-M78 turbine engine.
Three light aircraft are operated by the Langley Research Center to further its research programmes into systems and operations of interest to the general aviation community. A Cirrus SR22 and Columbia 300 (seen here) represent the latest designs, while a Cessna Stationair is typical of high-wing general aviation types. Each aircraft has been equipped with a number of systems to improve their value as research tools.