Tag Archives: dc-8

Sampling the Air in Detail

The time that the NASA DC-8 spent up in the Pacific Northwest was a ton of fun for the aviation enthusiasts.  Since I did get to shoot the jet a few times, I got some closer shots of the airframe to show the various sensors that cover the jet and are used for the sampling work that has been its specialization.  There are plenty of them on the top, sides and bottom of the airframe.  Here are some shots.  I wonder what will replace the jet and whether it will have a similar array of probes?

The Return of the DC-8 and Max 10 After the Storm

There was an evening when the weather was awful and the NASA DC-8 was out on a mission.  The forecast suggested things might get a bit clearer late in the afternoon and so, while the light was awful, I thought I might take a chance and head to Paine Field after work.  The sky was dark and ominous but I was there so I might as well wait.  As the Max 10 was first on approach, it was the one I would try out first.  There was a hint of the sun starting to punch through the cloud and it did look okay.

Then, when the DC-8 showed up, the clouds parted.  The backdrop was still and evil looking sky but the sun was on the plane as it came down the approach.  I had thought of shooting video but, when I saw the light, I couldn’t resist shooting stills.  The joy of modern cameras is the ability to switch rapidly from one to the other.  I got video down the initial approach and then stills as it was close in.  Then back to video once it was by me.  This actually didn’t make for a bad video edit.

A moment with light like this is very rare and you have to be excited when it all works out.

Finally, I Catch the NASA DC-8

I have not done well in my previous efforts to photograph NASA’s DC-8 environmental sampling aircraft.  I had taken some distant overhead images when I was down at Star Wars Canyon and had hoped to see it fly at the air show at Edwards AFB last year.  Sadly, that didn’t happen as it was down for some maintenance issues.  With it due for retirement soon, I figured that might have been it.  However, I was chatting to some friends a while back and they informed me that it was due to come up to Everett for about ten days of flying in November.

This proved to be the case.  A program with Boeing as part of their EcoDemonstrator program had a new 737-10 that is ultimately destined for United (if the Max 10 ever gets certificated) flying with sustainable aviation fuel and the DC-8 flying behind it to sample the air, identify the emissions particles and measure the types of contrails formed but the different elements of the fuels.  The Max 10 was painted in a special livery which included the EcoDemonstrator Explorer program name.

The DC-8 was operating from Paine Field for the trials.  I was not able to get it arriving, but it was there long enough that I didn’t miss out.  These shots are from the first time I was able to see it getting ready to fly and heading out.  Over the course of the time it was here, I had further encounters and some of those are worthy of their own posts.  Consequently, there will be more to share of this fantastic relic of a bygone era in passenger aviation.

NASA’s DC-8 Is Watching Me

While hanging out at Rainbow Canyon awaiting the next jet, someone was flying high above.  They were pulling a contrail at their altitude so you had a really good idea of their flightpath.  They were flying regular extended orbits above us.  The racetracks they left in the sky made it all pretty simple.  A look at an ADS-B tracker told me that this wasn’t a tanker waiting for trade.  It was NASA’s DC-8.  This is a rare beast indeed and, while still a long way off, I was glad to get a shot of some sort of it.