A wonderful Sunday surprise from Project Opensky (POSKY) as they release their magnificent 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. More specifically, the model released, N905NA is a variant of the 747-100, obtained from American Airlines in 1974 and modified to carry the space shuttle orbiters on its back. Modifications include the addition of three struts and related structural enhancements, the addition of two vertical stabilizers, and the full removal of the interior aft of the no. 1 door. Of course, POSKY could have released it without an orbiter, but what fun would that be? Included is a very dirty shuttle Discovery. See the POSKY release post.
Boeing delivered a second SCA to NASA in late 1990, after modifying a Japan Airline 747-100(SR). Both of these aircraft serve the purpose of transporting the orbiters around the world. Whether ferrying an orbiter back to Kennedy Space Center from an alternative landing area or taking an orbiter around the world, the SCA is a true work horse in NASA’s fleet. Prior to final approval as an SCA, N905NA was an important aircraft in the wake vortex flights that helped the FAA study and enhance their wake turbulence procedures.
After loading this new model in FS9, I took N905NA on a flight from LAX to SFO. My two biggest reactions: 1) oh my, this is a large but beautiful model, and 2) geez, this thing is a sluggish dog (I would fly like a dog too if I had an orbiter on my back!). Climb rates are only around 400fpm, but banking is still relatively normal. I am looking forward to many more hours behind the yoke of this beast! This is better than their Dreamlifter, although it is also beautiful in its own respect.
Cheers & Happy Ferrying!