On Wednesday, July 20th NASA Glenn aircraft mechanic Daniel Gorman gave the Academites a tour of the Glenn Research Hangar. The hangar is one of the oldest buildings at GRC and many different types of aircraft have called it home before. However, on this day, the hangar was somewhat empty. Dan had also informed the Academites that they just missed Mike Foreman, an Ohioan astronaut, and his T-38 jet trainer.
Along the tour, the students learned a few stories and some technical information on Glenn’s own Leer 25 Jet. The small jet plane was originally the property of a fugitive but upon his capture, NASA Glenn procured it at bargain rates. This Leer is currently used by Glenn researchers for photovoltaic cell research. In these experiments, the jet reaches altitude, above any fluctuating weather, and maintains a constant angle in respect to the sun. In its past, the Leer jet was used for microgravity research. But because it wasn’t fully modified for this use, it can only perform a handful of microgravity parabolas before having to return to base. Also in the hangar was the rare Lockheed S-3 anti-submarine aircraft in NASA’s possession.
This aircraft had military purposes at first but was ultimately converted into a satellite communications research plane. It’s maintained by parting out two identical S-3 aircraft, also kept in the hangar. After looking at the other two hangars, the Academites noticed some unique decals on one of the S-3s that included a set of antlers. Dan explained that they were “caveman” paintings, telling the story about how the two pilots went hunting while on a trip and each came home with an elk, but only after their plane needed mechanical repairs. Finally, Dan explained a little history and specs on the missing Twin Otter turboprop and T-34 navy pilot trainer as well as taking us down the hangar office hallway showing all the planes from the past.