The tail numbers NASA 911 and NASA 905 were used for the two Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, converted Boeing 747s that carried the shuttle between the landing sites and the launch complex at Kennedy Space Center. Our guest in this episode is Ace Beall who flew the SCAs for several years. We talk about operations, modifications on the airplane, the flight characteristics with and without the shuttle as well as some anecdotes from Ace’s time on the SCA.
SOFIA is an airborne observatory, a Boeing 747SP modified to carry a 2.7m infrared telescope in the back of the fuselage. In late October 2015, I had the opportunity to fly on SOFIA during science missions 248 and 249. This episode captures these two flights. The episode is a mix between interviews with scientists and aircrew, recordings from the intercom system and some narration by me. The list of guests can be seen on the episode page – it is too long for the abstract.
SOFIA is an airborne observatory, a Boeing 747SP modified to carry a 2.7m infrared telescope in the back of the fuselage. In the context of the preparation for my SOFIA flights, I visited the DSI in Stuttgart several times during this summer to record interviews with various DSI people about SOFIA. This episode covers these interviews, plus a recording of the visit of the instrument labs in Palmdale. The guests and topics are Alfred Krabbe, Head of the DSI, on the history and some of the science; Thomas Keilig, CEO of DSI, on the airplane and the modifications; Christian Fischer, Project Engineer of FIFI-LS, on the instrument and some of the science; Dörte Mehlert, Education and Public Outreach, on education and the flying teachers programme; and Zaheer Ali, head of the science and mission operations laboratory, on that lab.
Here is another episode in our ongoing (and hopefully never ending :-)) series on flying iconic airplanes. This time we talk with former Concorde pilot John Hutchinson about flying this Mach 2 airliner. We discuss the cornerstones of the design and construction of the aircraft, its operation (mostly with British Airways), flying characteristics as well as the infamous accident in Paris in 2000 (on which John has some very specific opinions).
In our little series on interesting aircraft, this episode covers the Harrier, the iconic VTOL fighter. Our guests are Joe Anderson and Art Nalls, who both fly Art’s civilian Harrier in airshows. We discussed the history of the Harrier and its predecessors, talked about its use in the military and the advantages of STOVL and then discussed in some details the intricacies of flying a Harrier (compared to other aircraft). We concluded by talking about Art and Joe’s airshow activities.