NASA Jets Buzz The Capitol

by Jason Major on April 5, 2012

Twin NASA T-38s flew over the U.S. Capitol on the morning of April 5, 2012. (NASA/Paul E. Alers)

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.

A pair of T-38s fly in formation over Galveston Beach in Texas, showing some of the aerobatic abilities of the T-38. (Photo courtesy of Story Musgrave)

“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.

About 

A graphic designer in Rhode Island, Jason writes about space exploration on his blog Lights In The Dark, Discovery News, and, of course, here on Universe Today. Ad astra!

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