CLEVELAND — One of NASA’s workhorse aircrafts is being retired as the last S-3B Viking is set to fly off into the sunset. This fleet of planes was retired by the U.S. Navy back in 2009, and the one stationed at NASA’s Glenn Research Center here in Cleveland was the final one still in flight.
Originally, the S-3B Viking was built as an anti-submarine warfare aircraft, but the one NASA has been using had been reconfigured back in 2006, removing its weapon systems and suiting it for research purposes instead.
“This old aircraft has been a huge part of ushering in the future of aviation,” Mike Jarrell, lead of NASA’s e Command and Control project, said. “The S-3B has been a perfect match for our research. It has a nice flat bottom where we can mount a variety of antenna; it flies steady and goes low and slow so we can communicate with ground stations.”
Jarrell also said that the S-3B had been used for every type of research mission NASA needed across all types of terrain. One of the many areas that the S-3B had been used was over Lake Erie.
“The S-3B gave us the flexibility to fly at different altitudes to image large swaths of Lake Erie and other bodies of water,” said Roger Tokars, an elliptical and optics engineer with NASA Glenn. “The other advantage was the aircraft’s inertial navigation system that helped us calibrate our equipment for better geo-referencing data.”
The S-3B will now be sent to San Diego where it will be stationed as part of an exhibit at the San Diego Air and Space Museum.
For more information, visit NASA’s website here.
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