NASA 747 w/ SF Radio

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AlaskaMike

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Just caught "NASA 747" working SF radio on 5574u just now (about 0540z). They had some trouble receiving Lat/Long waypoints from the ARINC controller. Sounds like they're flying an interesting route, eventually terminating at KPMD (Palmdale, AF Plant 42). Lat/Long waypoints mentioned:

38 15N 134 18W
38 32N 144 30W
30 16N 143 45W
31 33N 135 05W
34 0N 125 41W
36 28N 117 59W

Then to PMD and final destination KPMD.

I haven't plotted those coordinates, but FlightAware shows their flight plan as launching from Palmdale, doing a turn 360+ deg. turn near Edwards, and then heading offshore to fly a five point start pattern off the California coastline.

Pretty cool--first time I've caught a NASA callsign.

Mike
 

AlaskaMike

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NASA747 just checked in again and reported that they were back on course. I must've missed them reporting earlier that they were deviating somehow.
 

AlaskaMike

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It looks like this is a B747SP that has been flying patterns similar to this over the past week or so, at least according to Flightaware.com. According to Flightaware.com these flights are all about 9+ hours long, both originating and terminating at KPMD (Palmdale).

Seems like an interesting origin/destination for NASA test aircraft--they've got a large test facility at Edwards.
 

majoco

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Did they mention their altitude? That aircraft came to NZ a few years ago and they were going up pretty high for a 747 over the pole - 55,000feet springs to mind. They used the Christchurch US Deep Freeze Antarctic Support hangar as a base.
 

AlaskaMike

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Majoco--they were at 38,000 feet. I think the fact that it's an SP model allows it to go pretty high, but I'm not sure of the ceiling. With the same wings as a standard 747-100 but shorter fuselage, it should have a significantly higher ceiling I would think.
 

majoco

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The most common limitation on aircraft max ceiling is cabin pressure differential. That 747 SP has a big unpressurised hole in the side so I would guess that structual modifications would have been essential to preserve the integrity of the fuselage. The SP has a bigger tail area too as the reduced length means less leverage so it was stronger in the first place.
 
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