July 2, 2012

NASA ER-2 No. 809 returns to flight

NASA’s high-altitude ER-2 aircraft No. 806 lifts off the runway at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, Calif. NASA operates two ER-2s for airborne science research, electronic sensor research and development, satellite calibration and satellite data validation.

NASA’s ER-2 Earth Resources aircraft No. 809 took to the air June 28 on a functional check flight after completion of a year of modified periodic depot-level maintenance.

The aircraft was literally broken down into pieces that were spread around its hangar at NASA’s Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif. The work involved a thorough 600-flight-hour phase inspection that included replacing the old wiring that is known to deteriorate over time with new Teflon-coated wiring and completing several other time-compliance technical upgrades.

Following a second checkout flight scheduled for the week of July 2, the aircraft will be ready to resume missions for NASA’s Airborne Science Program.

Computer Sciences Corp. mechanic Jerry Roth marks holes for proper alignment of a blueprint on the wing skin of NASA’s ER-2 No. 809. The aircraft is undergoing extensive maintenance.

The forward fuselage of NASA ER-2 No. 809 is missing its nose, canopy and instrumentation that were removed during major maintenance and inspection of the 22-year old aircraft.

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