NASA ER-2 Research Aircraft Conducting Research Flights from Hunter AAF in Savannah Through 1 March 2020

Savannah, GA – One of NASA’s ER-2 (their version of the U-2), NASA 809, is at Hunter AAF in Savannah, GA through 1 March 2020. It is conducting research flights for NASA’s IMPACTS research program, which is studying east seaboard snow storms. Just past noon today, it took off for one of its missions, departing on Runway 10 and turned northbound up the east coast. I’ve got FlightAware set up to alert me when a flight plan is filed for NASA 809, so I had a heads up for this takeoff and Hunter’s been using Runway 10 today. so I headed over to the Eisenhower Dr/Hodgson Memorial Dr area of Savannah before takeoff to see if I could get some photos. Photo-wise, it turned out to be a bust. Apparently Savannah TRACON wanted it to get to 10,000 ft as soon as possible, so it was well above photo range by the time it got to the end of the runway. I snapped a photo anyway so I’d have something to remember its visit to Savannah with in case I don’t get any better opportunities. It won’t be returning to Hunter tonight until around 8:00 PM, so it will be too dark for photos then.

Screen capture of NASA 809’s flight path on
NASA 809 directly overhead of me near Eisenhower Dr/Hodgson Memorial Dr off of the end of Hunter AAF’s Runway 10. It was already too high to get a good photo. I was using a 100-300mm zoom lens, but I don’t think the 500mm zoom lens would have done any better.

While I was waiting for NASA 809 to depart, SNAP 85 (KC-135R, 62-3534, 22nd ARW) departed Hunter and headed roughly northwest, likely headed home to McConnell AFB in Kansas. It had been in town for a couple of weeks for an apparent Special Force exercise.

Whenever I’m in Savannah over the next month or so, I’ll be keeping an ear and eye out for NASA 809 departures and landings and will try to get some better photos.

Categories: Aviation, ER-2, Hunter AAF, NASA, Scanning

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