Aerospace Valley Air Show an opportunity to see Edwards, NASA aircraft , Pt. II

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An F-22 Raptor assigned to the 411th Flight Test Squadron maneuvers over the Mojave Desert during a test mission. (Lockheed Martin photograph by Chad Bellay)
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The Aerospace Valley Air Show will feature aircraft from Edwards Air Force Base, and NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center flying over communities in the Southern California desert.
Over the next few days, Aerotech News and Review, will highlight some of the aircraft spectators can see flying in the skies overhead.

F-22 Raptor

The F-22 Raptor is one the Air Force’s newest fighter aircraft. Its combination of stealth, supercruise, maneuverability, and integrated avionics, coupled with improved supportability, represents an exponential leap in warfighting capabilities. The Raptor performs both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions allowing full realization of operational concepts vital to the 21st century Air Force.

General characteristics
Primary function: air dominance, multi-role fighter
Contractor: Lockheed-Martin, Boeing
Power plant: two Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 turbofan engines with afterburners and two-dimensional thrust vectoring nozzles.
Thrust: 35,000-pound class (each engine)
Wingspan: 44 feet, 6 inches
Length: 62 feet, 1 inch
Height: 16 feet, 8 inches
Weight: 43,340 pounds
Maximum takeoff weight: 83,500 pounds
Fuel capacity: internal: 18,000 pounds; with 2 external wing fuel tanks: 26,000 pounds
Payload: same as armament air-to-air or air-to-ground loadouts; with or without two external wing fuel tanks.
Speed:  mach two class with supercruise capability
Range: more than 1,850 miles ferry range with two external wing fuel tanks (1,600 nautical miles)
Ceiling: above 50,000 feet
Armament: one M61A2 20-millimeter cannon with 480 rounds, internal side weapon bays carriage of two AIM-9 infrared (heat seeking) air-to-air missiles and internal main weapon bays carriage of six AIM-120 radar-guided air-to-air missiles (air-to-air loadout) or two 1,000-pound GBU-32 JDAMs and two AIM-120 radar-guided air-to-air missiles (air-to-ground loadout)
Crew: one
Unit cost: $143 million
Initial operating capability:  December 2005
Inventory: total force, 183
 
 
 

An Edwards’ based C-17 Globemaster III takes off to conduct a flight test. (Air Force photograph by Kenji Thuloweit)
C-17 Globemaster III

The C-17 Globemaster III is the most flexible cargo aircraft to enter the airlift force. The C-17 is capable of rapid strategic delivery of troops and all types of cargo to main operating bases or directly to forward bases in the deployment area. The aircraft can perform tactical airlift and airdrop missions and can transport litters and ambulatory patients during aeromedical evacuations. The inherent flexibility and performance of the C-17 force improve the ability of the total airlift system to fulfill the worldwide air mobility requirements of the United States.

General Characteristics
Primary Function: Cargo and troop transport
Prime Contractor: Boeing
Power Plant: Four Pratt & Whitney F117-PW-100 turbofan engines
Thrust: 40,440 pounds, each engine
Wingspan: 169 feet 10 inches (to winglet tips)
Length: 174 feet
Height: 55 feet 1 inch
Cargo Compartment: length, 88 feet; width, 18 feet; height, 12 feet 4 inches Speed: 450 knots at 28,000 feet (8,534 meters) (Mach .74)
Service Ceiling: 45,000 feet at cruising speed
Range: Global with in-flight refueling
Crew: Three (two pilots and one loadmaster)
Aeromedical Evacuation Crew: A basic crew of five (two flight nurses and three medical technicians) is added for aeromedical evacuation missions. Medical crew may be altered as required by the needs of patients
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 585,000 pounds
Load: 102 troops/paratroops; 36 litter and 54 ambulatory patients and attendants; 170,900 pounds of cargo (18 pallet positions)
Unit Cost: $202.3 million (fiscal 1998 constant dollars)
Date Deployed: June 1993
Inventory: Active duty, 157; Air National Guard, 47; Air Force Reserve, 18
 
 
 

A T-38 Talon assigned to the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School taxis at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. (Air Force photograph by Dawn Waldman)
T-38 Talon

The T-38 Talon is a twin-engine, high-altitude, supersonic jet trainer used in a variety of roles because of its design, economy of operations, ease of maintenance, high performance and exceptional safety record. Air Education and Training Command is the primary user of the T-38 for joint specialized undergraduate pilot training. Air Combat Command, Air Force Materiel Command and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration also use the T-38A in various roles.

General Characteristics
Primary Function: Advanced jet pilot trainer
Builder: Northrop Corp.
Power Plant: Two General Electric J85-GE-5 turbojet engines with afterburners
Thrust: 2,050 pounds dry thrust; 2,900 with afterburners
Thrust (with PMP): 2,200 pounds dry thrust; 3,300 with afterburners
Length: 46 feet, 4 inches
Height: 12 feet, 10 inches
Wingspan: 25 feet, 3 inches
Speed: 812 mph (Mach 1.08 at sea level)
Ceiling: Above 55,000 feet
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 12,093 pounds
Range: 1,093 miles
Armament: T-38A/C: none; AT-38B: provisions for practice bomb dispenser
Unit Cost: $756,000 (1961 constant dollars)
Crew: Two, student and instructor
Date Deployed: March 1961
Inventory: Active force, 546; ANG, 0; Reserve 0
 
 
 

The NASA Armstrong C-20 environmental research aircraft flies a test mission over the Mojave Desert. (NASA photograph by Lori Losey)
NASA C-20 — Environmental Science Research Aircraft

NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center operates a C-20A, a military version of the Gulfstream III business jet, as an environmental science research aircraft for a variety of geophysical research missions. The aircraft has been extensively modified and instrumented for the role, including installation of a sophisticated synthetic aperture radar in an underbelly pod, a self-contained on-board Data Collection and Processing System (DCAPS) and a precision autopilot that enables the aircraft to fly repeat passes over a target within 15 feet of the original flight path.

The twin-turbofan aircraft provides long-term capability for efficiently conducting airborne environmental science missions for NASA, other government agencies, academia and private industry. 

NASA Armstrong’s C-20A was obtained from the U.S. Air Force in September 2002. It bears tail number 502 and is based at the center’s Building 703 in Palmdale, California.

The Gulfstream III / C-20A aircraft were built by Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. In its commercial version, the G-III’s basic role is that of an executive business aircraft that can carry up to 12 passengers.
The C-20B version currently flown by the Air Force serves in a similar capacity for high-level government and military officials.

The C-20A’s maximum takeoff weight with full fuel and passengers or cargo is 69,700 pounds. The unmodified airplane weighs about 38,000 pounds empty. The aircraft has a wingspan of just over 77 feet, is about 83 feet long and just over 24 feet tall. Normal cruise for the aircraft is 527 mph (459 knots) and its top speed is 576 mph (501 knots; Mach 0.85). The C-20A’s maximum operating altitude is 45,000 feet and it has a range with a full load of passengers or equipment of about 3,400 nautical miles (4,000 statute miles). 

Two Rolls-Royce Spey Mark 511-8 turbofan engines, each producing 11,400 pounds of thrust, power the aircraft.
 
 
 

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