Eight of the nine pilots and flight engineers from the Johnson Space Center, Houston, and Dryden who have flown NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft in recent years along with the SCA maintenance crew from Dryden were photographed prior to a pilot proficiency flight in NASA 747 SCA No. 905 March 29. The ground crew in the front row include, from left, Randy Isaac, Eugene Smith, Robert Hackaday, Leroy Marsh and Rick Brewer, all employees of CSC Applied Technologies. Flight crew members in the back row are, from left, Henry Taylor, Larry LaRose, Frank Batteas, Bill Brockett, Arthur "Ace" Beall, Tim Sandon, Jeff Moultrie and Bill Rieke. Pilot Bob Zimmermann is not in the image. (NASA photo by Tony Landis) › View Larger Image
Two NASA 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft have ferried the space shuttle fleet from coast to coast for more than three decades.
Built in 1970, NASA 747 SCA No. 905 was acquired by NASA in 1974 from American Airlines and modified for its shuttle-carrying role by The Boeing Company.
Batteas, Brockett and Sandon prepare for a pilot proficiency flight. (NASA photo by Tony Landis) › View Larger Image NASA 905 will conclude its mission as a shuttle carrier aircraft when it delivers Endeavour for the California Science Center in Los Angeles later this year.
NASA 905 carried Columbia aloft 60 times, Challenger 20 and Atlantis 35. Including the deliveries to museums in Washington, New York and Los Angeles, it will have carried Discovery 38 times, Endeavour 12 and Enterprise 57 times on ferry flights. NASA 905 also was used for five missions when it released the prototype orbiter for steep descents for the Approach and Landing Tests at Dryden in 1977.
The NASA 747 No. 905 also logged two ferry flights of Boeing's Phantom Ray technology demonstrator in late 2010 and 2011, for a total of 229 piggyback missions.
NASA 747 SCA No. 911 was built in 1973 and acquired by NASA from Japan Air Lines in 1989. After modifications, it carried shuttles on ferry flights 66 times over 21 years until it was retired in February. Johnson Space Center's Aircraft Operations Directorate owns and operates the aircraft, which are based at Dryden.