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NASA Boeing 747 Damaged By Severe Weather In New Zealand

The Boeing 747SP, registration N747NA, owned by NASA and modified to carry a reflecting telescope for the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) mission, was damaged in New Zealand earlier this week. This iconic aircraft is currently grounded and receiving maintenance. What happened? NASA reported that on Monday, July 18, the SOFIA Boeing 747SP was damaged by a storm that affected the area around Christchurch International Airport (CHC) in New Zealand. During the severe weather… ( More...

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Leander Williams 6
It is sad to know that this 747SP will be retired. It is one of the few left that still fly. I may have to take that 4-hour drive up to Palmdale and see it before they ship it to the Boneyard. Maybe they will fly it over to Victorville.
stuart fairbairn 4
its still on the ground at CH-CH Int Airport
GraemeSmith 4
I'm thinking it will just be grounded now.

NASA - "The end of operations was announced on April 28 2022, confirming that there would be no more mission extensions for the modified Boeing 747 SP and its telescope. Operations will cease "no later than Sept 30, 2022" once the current mission extension comes to an end."
John McCurdy 2
I have heard that many pilots from PAN AM and United affectionately referred to the SP as a sportscar
Mike Williams 3
Someone did not catch the weather forecast? Get it out of the bad weather?
Philip Hicks 1
B747s are rather large' I don't believe there are any hangars big enough to enclose contain a B747. If the large tail of an SP747 caught the wind and moved within a nose in hangar situation the damage would have been more severe if not terminal! Partial enclosure Did I read the aircraft moved in the wind - perhaps the steps it struck should have been taken further away from the aircraft.
Brian Rushfeldt 1
wasn't a hanger issue - the stairs moved in the wind..
Shenghao Han 2
Sad that soon stratosphere telescope like SOFIA will be thing of the past... these days satellites could do most things SOFIA could do.
Wish they could modify a A380 in place of that ageing 747-SP, although very unlikely. Better off launch a satellite instead...
SOFIA is unique due to the instruments she uses which are constantly being developed. Currently there are 5 that can be changed out within the space of around 2 days. Each campaign is run using instrument A then that is changed out nd a campaign is run using instruct B. She actually can do more than a satellite can. SOFIA liker her predecessor the Kuiper Airborne Observatory can respond to events quickly. Plus like the Kuiper, SOFIA has been coming to New Zealand as the Southern Hemisphere points towards the center of the Galaxy. Things such as the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds cannot be seen from the Northern Hemisphere.
Andre Page 1
More here... Check out the images section ;-)
Not familiar with Christchurch Airport? There are no hangers that would handle SOFIA. This is her seventh deployment to Christcurch, New Zealand. She parks where in the southern summer, U.S.A.F. C-17's and LC-130'S park out in the open. Sadly the weather turned severe.
Jim Albies 1
N536PA I have many hours working on this A/c with Panam in lax,sad to see her time is coming to an end.I have the “clipper ship” plaque from the first class bulkhead that I removed before we towed it to United’s hanger and delivered it to them in 1991, beautiful aircraft, privileged to work on her and for Pan American.gone but not forgotten!


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