Eksath From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 1140 posts, RR: 27 Posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 4298 times:
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NASA's two 747 are ex-American Airlines and Japan Airlines and were original standard aircraft. Are there any other big commericial civilian jets re-enginered for specialized uses ? I dont mean Biz jets.
DfwRevolution From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 2, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 4214 times:
Another NASA application, the SOFIA telescope:
The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is a joint project of NASA, the Universities Space Research Association (USRA), and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) who are providing the telescope. SOFIA is a Boeing 747SP airliner modified to carry a 2.5 meter diameter reflecting telescope for infrared astronomy observations at altitudes of about 41,000 feet (~12 km) in the stratosphere. Its flight capability will allow it to rise above almost all of the water vapor in the Earth's atmosphere (allowing observations at some infrared wavelengths which are blocked by the atmosphere before reaching ground-based facilities), as well as travel to almost any point on the earth's surface for observations. The telescope looks out of a large door in the side of the fuselage near the airplane's tail, and will initially carry nine instruments for infrared astronomy in wavelengths from 0.35–655 micrometres.
Eksath From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 1140 posts, RR: 27 Reply 4, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 23 hours ago) and read 3895 times:
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Quoting N1120A (Reply 3): SOFIA is a Boeing 747SP airliner modified to carry a 2.5 meter diameter reflecting telescope for infrared astronomy observations at altitudes of about 41,000 feet (~12 km) in the stratosphere.
wow..that would be interesting..opening a section of fusleage at 41,000 feet and in cruise on a 747 SP (if that is what the picture above means by the black section) . Did not know about this. Thanks.
SBN580 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 401 posts, RR: 3 Reply 6, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 3728 times:
NASA has had a number of airliners used for other purposes besides the 747 SCAs. I had the pleasure of working with those and others at the Dryden Flight Research Center in the 1990s. In the Airliners.net database I see we have these:
DC-8 Flying laboratory. Not used for flight research, but environmental and astronomical observations. In the late '90s Dryden's mission was diversified more than just purely flight research. This DC-8 was part of that initiative. It had been at NASA Ames, but HQ was phasing Ames out of flying aircraft. Kind of sad. Ames' loss, but Dryden's gain. As an airliner fan, I was happy!
TU-144 This aircraft was used for a joint US/Russia research project. While genuine data was gained from the program, it was also a friendship gesture to the Russian aerospace programs of the newly post-Soviet era. One of my colleagues got to go to Zhukovsky on the project. I did get to meet some of the Tupolev engineers when they visited Dryden. Very proud and friendly guys. They were impressed with my knowledge of their design bureau. They gave me a Tupolev pin and I layed on them the little Russian I know. Too bad they never brought her over to the states.
CV-990 This aircraft had a number of uses in its NASA career, but I remember it for it's last. A Space Shuttle main landing gear was attached to her belly. The test was to truly see how much pressure could a Shuttle main gear take. Data from this was to increase make KSC Florida landings more likely no matter the weight of the payload. Until then, when the mission payload were of a certain weight, Dryden/Edwards was seen as a better choice because of the longer runway and lakebed landing strips. One day, I was taping the test and well, we reached the limit. The tire blew and the special made assembly hit the runway. A fourth of July fireworks show ensued! "Stop test! Stop test!" was shouted over the comm. Whew! For a moment, I was worried that something would ignite. The pilot hit the brakes and the test fixture was lifted. That tire was shredded and the underside of the 990 had a big black smudge aft of the test fixture.
Just some of the fun at Dryden. Good folks, doing great work most people don't even realize. Sadly, NASA Langley's 757 and 737 did not get out to Dryden for a visit in my time there. We did use the MD-11 prototype for a neat experiment that fixed the harrowing fate of the DC-10 Sioux City incident. Airlines would not buy the fix though. Dumb! So, I always was stoked when the airliners were around.
To whit the engineers would say, "Transports! Transports! Who cares about those?!" I would just . For more info and more cool images of these planes and others in their NASA glory go to: http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/Gallery/Photo/index.html
North Central: Good People Made Their Airline Great! FLY MD-90 POWER! Keep 'em Flying DELTA Family!
787engineer From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 572 posts, RR: 16 Reply 7, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 3675 times:
NASA also has, well had, a KC-135/Boeing 707 "Weightless Wonder" converted for weightless simulation and training of astronauts. You've probably heard of it by its more common name: The Vomit Comet. The plane was retired just a few months ago, and they're working on modifying a DC-9 to serve the same purpose. The project to modify the DC-9 (like most NASA projects) is way behind schedule. I was scheduled to fly on it this past March as part of the NASA's RGSFOP (Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program), and it doesn't seem like the plane will be ready until this coming April. And. . . useless trivia fact: several of the weightless scenes in the movie Apollo 13 were filmed on the Vomit Comet.
Eksath From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 1140 posts, RR: 27 Reply 14, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 12 hours ago) and read 3391 times:
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Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 13): Ok good point. But the question is sort of open for interpretation. Did you mean actual aircraft examples that have seen commercial service or just models that have seen aircraft service.
I was looking for aircraft's that started off on their usual civilian commercial role and then were used for specialized uses such as these. So they were reengineered to their new role or mission ( i guess you could say all freighter conversions fall into this catergory too but they are so common and hence not as spectacular). The examples above are great and spot on. I wonder if there are more out there.
I also recall reading about a French car commercial produced in the mid 1980s, in which a Citroen sedan was fastened atop a Boeing 707, in a fashion similar to that of the shuttle. This was the aircraft involved (VT-DVA Anapoorna: