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NASA Research Support Aircraft

NASA Research Support Aircraft



NASA research support aircraft are commonly called chase planes and fill the role of escort aircraft during research missions. Chase pilots are in constant radio contact with research pilots and serve as an "extra set of eyes" to help maintain total flight safety during specific tests and maneuvers. They monitor certain events for the research pilot and are an important safety feature on all research missions. Chase aircraft also are used as camera platforms for research missions that must be photographed or videotaped. Pictorial coverage - photos, motion pictures and videotape - is used extensively by aeronautical engineers to monitor and verify various aspects of the research project.
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NASA Lockheed F-104N Starfighter Chase Plane - Joe Walker, XB-70 Crash, Dryden Flight Research Center, 1966 NASA Lockheed F-104N Starfighter Chase Plane - Joe Walker, XB-70 Crash, Dryden Flight Research Center, 1966 (1:72 Scale)

Introduced to the world as "the missile with a man in it," the striking Lockheed F-104 Starfighter promised to be the ultimate interceptor. Small, light in weight and with stunning straight-line performance, the F-104 was never agile enough to become what its designers wanted.

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NASA Boeing 747 with X-45C Phantom Ray Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle - Edwards AFB NASA Boeing 747 with X-45C "Phantom Ray" Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle - Edwards AFB (1:400 Scale)

The Boeing X-45 unmanned combat air vehicle is a concept demonstrator for a next generation of completely autonomous military aircraft, developed by Boeing's Phantom Works. Manufactured by Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, the X-45 was a part of DARPA's J-UCAS project.

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NASA Northrop T-38A Talon Chase Plane - Edwards Air Force Base, California, 1961 NASA Northrop T-38A Talon Chase Plane - Edwards Air Force Base, California, 1961 (1:72 Scale)

The Northrop T-38 Talon is a two-seat, twin-engine supersonic jet trainer. It was the world's first supersonic trainer and is also the most produced. The T-38 remains in service as of 2013 in air forces throughout the world.

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NASA Northrop T-38 Talon Chase Plane - N923NA, STS-3 Mission for Space Shuttle "Columbia", White Sands Space Harbor, New Mexico, March 30th, 1982 NASA Northrop T-38 Talon Chase Plane - N923NA, STS-3 Mission for Space Shuttle "Columbia", White Sands Space Harbor, New Mexico, March 30th, 1982 (1:72 Scale)

The Northrop T-38 Talon is a two-seat, twin-engine supersonic jet trainer. It was the world's first supersonic trainer and is also the most produced. The T-38 remains in service as of 2013 in air forces throughout the world.

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NASA Lockheed F-104N Starfighter Chase Plane NASA Lockheed F-104N Starfighter Chase Plane (1:48 Scale)

Introduced to the world as "the missile with a man in it," the striking Lockheed F-104 Starfighter promised to be the ultimate interceptor. Small, light in weight and with stunning straight-line performance, the F-104 was never agile enough to become what its designers wanted.

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NASA Boeing F-15D Eagle Multi-Role Fighter - NASAs Dryden Flight Research Center, 2011 NASA Boeing F-15D Eagle Multi-Role Fighter - NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, 2011 (1:72 Scale)

It's the fighter pilot's dream. The McDonnell Douglas F-15 is fast, amazingly agile and climbs like a rocket. It can "zoom-climb" to an astonishing altitude of 98,400 feet, and reach its normal operating ceiling of 59,000 feet -- flying at two-and-a-half times the speed of sound -- in just two minutes. With the best combat radar in the world, it can detect and destroy enemies way beyond the pilot's visual range.

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NASA McDonnell Douglas F/A-18B Hornet Strike Fighter Chase Plane NASA McDonnell Douglas F/A-18B Hornet Strike Fighter Chase Plane (1:48 Scale)

The F/A-18 Hornet is the true multi-role aircraft. It can vault from a carrier deck, bomb a target and stay to dogfight even the best enemy aircraft without missing a beat. It's the Navy's first modern-era jet intended for double duty against air- and ground-based adversaries. Armed to the hilt with Sparrow and Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, an internal cannon, and laser-guided bombs, this modern warbird was an outstanding performer in Operation Desert Storm.

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NASA Lockheed SR-71B Blackbird Reconnaissance Aircraft - 831, Edwards AFB, CA, 1999 NASA Lockheed SR-71B Blackbird Reconnaissance Aircraft - "831", Edwards AFB, CA, 1999 (1:72 Scale)

The Lockheed SR-71 was an advanced, long-range, Mach 3 strategic reconnaissance aircraft developed from the Lockheed A-12 and YF-12A aircraft by the Lockheed Skunk Works. The SR-71 was unofficially named the Blackbird, and called the Habu by its crews.

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USAF/NASA Lockheed YF-12C Interceptor Aircraft - 60-6937, Edwards AFB, CA., 1975 USAF/NASA Lockheed YF-12C Interceptor Aircraft - 60-6937, Edwards AFB, CA., 1975 (1:72 Scale)

The Lockheed SR-71 was an advanced, long-range, Mach 3 strategic reconnaissance aircraft developed from the Lockheed A-12 and YF-12A aircraft by the Lockheed Skunk Works. The SR-71 was unofficially named the Blackbird, and called the Habu by its crews.

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