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Unique NASA jet donated to Idaho State University

Unique NASA jet donated to Idaho State University


POCATELLO, ID The engines of a historic research jet roared as it flew low toward its new home.

On Wednesday, the DC-8 jet that belonged to NASA and served as its first and largest flight science laboratory for 37 years touched down at the Aircraft Maintenance Technology Program hangar at Idaho State University. In the future, students there will have the opportunity to prepare for their fields by training on this aircraft.

“This aircraft has served as a premier flight science laboratory and contributed to groundbreaking research, and now it embarks on a new journey here at Idaho State University,” said Idaho State University President Robert Wagner. “It will have a huge impact on our people and their futures.”

When most people think of NASA, they think of rockets, but the organization's research extends below the stars. For nearly 40 years, DC-8 has supported scientists' research by collecting useful data.

“I'm on an air quality mission, flying low over major cities like New York and Chicago to get air quality data,” said the DC-8's deputy project manager. said Kirsten Boogaard, who served for a year. he said in an interview with

NASA also runs the Student Airborne Research Program, where students fly aboard the DC-8 and learn how to conduct scientific research.

“We always have graduate students doing their thesis and dissertation research and real-time work on aircraft in real time,” Boogaard said.

Taylor McWane, product support manager at NASA's Logistics Management Division Headquarters, said it was a difficult decision to twilight an aircraft that has long served NASA.

“You have to analyze the budget and decide, 'Does NASA have the resources to keep this old platform running for years to come?'” And often, they have to make difficult decisions and say, 'No. ’” McWane said.

The Idaho State University sticker is placed next to other stickers acquired during the plane's years of service. (Photo: Logan Ramsey,

Mr. Anhorn said the receipt of the aircraft was a pivotal moment because the school's technical college prides itself on its hands-on approach to education.

“This is more than just learning enrichment, it's preparation for real-world challenges. The DC-8 will serve as an integral part of our curriculum, where students will perform real-life maintenance and repair work. ” Anhorn said.

Foster is excited for his students to have the opportunity to train on the DC-8.

“It's actually rare for programs like ours across the country to own aircraft because most people still want to use these aircraft, so we're very fortunate and I’m excited about that,” Foster said.

Boogaard said the DC-8 has benefited education through its use, and he is pleased that it will continue to serve students.

“On the maintenance side of the aircraft, it's going to continue for future generations, and I think that's really great,” Boogaard told

The quote is placed in front of the cockpit of the DC-8, which served as a NASA jet. (Photo: Logan Ramsey,




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