Rare Bird

Posted 9 September 2011
Photo by MCS2 Travis Alston

The crew of a NASA WB-57F high altitude research aircraft takes off from the airfield at NS Rota, Spain, on 9 September 2011. The crew was conducting scientific experiments in Europe and refueled at the US base. Developed from the Martin B-57 Canberra medium bomber, the first WB-57 came off the modification line at the then-General Dynamics facility in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1964. When the US Air Force’s 58th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron was disestablished in 1974, one aircraft was transferred to NASA for airborne research. A second aircraft was later acquired. The two aircraft, known as NASA 926 and 928, are the only WB-57s still operating today. The NASA WB-57s are based at Ellington Field in Houston, Texas.


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