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Kathy Barnstorff
(Phone: 757/864-9886/Cellular: 757 344-8511)

RELEASE: 02-092
 


December 12, 2002

NEW NASA AIRCRAFT TO HELP CELEBRATE HISTORIC FLIGHT

One of NASA's newest aircraft, housed at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., will help commemorate the 99th anniversary of the first successful powered flight.

Depending on availability, NASA 507 or NASA 504 will join more than 115 other planes that will fly in 99 formations over Kill Devil Hills, N.C., on December 17. It was there on December 17, 1903, that Orville and Wilbur Wright made the historic flight that launched a new age in transportation.

NASA 507 is a Lancair Columbia 300. It is one of a number of new-generation small planes that incorporate NASA technology pioneered at Langley. Technologies range from modified wing leading edges for spin resistance to energy-absorbing composite airframes to state-of-the-art cockpit systems inspired by the Langley-led Advanced General Aviation Transport Experiments (AGATE) program.

NASA 504 is a Cessna 206 and is more typical of most of the planes flown by private pilots. It's being used to develop and test next-generation aviation safety technologies so that they can be retro-fitted into existing aircraft.

On December 17, one of the NASA planes will meet up with aircraft coming from across the country in a two-and-a-half hour fly over above the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills. Civilian and military aircraft dating as far back as the 1930s will be spaced at ninety-second intervals in sections two to three minutes apart, so visitors can see just how far aviation has come since the Wright Brothers' innovation. The first arrival over the monument is expected about 10:35 a.m.

NASA Langley will also have an exhibit inside the Wright Brothers National Memorial Visitor Center that will be available for viewing the morning of the fly over.

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