NASA DC-8 set to retire

Gepubliceerd op 22 april 2024 om 20:21

© Hassakorn | Jetphotos

On 1 April 2024, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Douglas DC-8-72 N817NA completed its final mission and returned to the agency's Armstrong Flight Research Center in Palmdale (CA). After 37 years of service, the venerable aircraft will be retired.

The DC-8 jetliner began its career as a model 62 with Alitalia in May 1969. In 1979, it was sold to Braniff Airways, where it flew for four years. In 1985, it was acquired by NASA and subsequently converted by Nacelle Corporation from a DC-8-62 to a DC-8-72 in early 1986. On 21 July 1986, the jetliner was delivered to NASA as N717NA, later re-registered as N817NA in June 1998.

In March of this year, N817NA completed an air quality study known as the Airborne and Satellite Investigation of Asian Air Quality, or ASIA-AQ mission. It was observed throughout Southeast Asia during this period, visiting various countries in the region.

According to available information, the DC-8 is scheduled to retire after concluding operations in May. The aircraft will continue its educational legacy as it transitions to its new home at Idaho State University in Pocatello (ID), where it will be utilised to train future aircraft technicians, providing real-world experience in the college’s Aircraft Maintenance Technology Programme.

In December 2022, NASA acquired a Boeing 777-246ER (former Japan Airlines JA704J). It was flown with US registration N774LG (msn 32892/435) from the storage airfield at Victorville/Southern California Logistics (CA) to Langley Air Force Base (VA), where it will undergo modification at the NASA Langley Research Center. The date of the 777's operational deployment with NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center has not yet been disclosed.

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