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Earlier today, Thursday, April 5, two NASA T-38 jets passed over the Washington, DC metropolitan area, during planned training and photographic flights. The photo above by Paul E. Alers shows the jets flying over the U.S. Capitol building.
See this and more images from the flyby on NASA HQ Photo’s Flickr page here.
Made by Northrop and powered by two afterburning General Electric J85 engines, a T-38 can fly supersonic up to Mach 1.6 and soar above 40,000 feet, about 10,000 feet higher than airliners typically cruise. The plane can wrench its pilots through more than seven Gs, or seven times the force of gravity.
“The T-38 is a great aircraft for what we need at NASA because it’s fast, it’s high-performance and it’s very simple,” says Terry Virts, who flew as the pilot of STS-130 aboard shuttle Endeavour. ”It’s safe and it’s known. So compared to other airplanes, it’s definitely one of the best.”
Today the T-38 training jets flew approximately 1,500 feet above Washington between 9:30 and 11 a.m. EDT. The April 5 flights were intended to capture photographic imagery.
Check out a great article about NASA’s T-38s here.