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NASA donates DC-8 jet to Idaho State University

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI) — NASA has retired its DC-8 jet and donated it to Idaho State University's Aircraft Maintenance Technology Program. The jet flew over Pocatello around 2p.m. Wednesday. It was received at the Pocatello airport with a celebratory water salute. A crowd of faculty, instructors, current students, former students and media gathered to witness the event.

ISU President Robert Wagner gives remarks after the jet lands at the Pocatello airport.

"For our students, this NASA DC8 represents a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience with one of the most advanced flying laboratories to ever exist," said ISU President Robert Wagner.

The DC-8 has been on roughly 150 science missions over its 37 years of service. It is the largest flying space laboratory in the world.

According to NASA's website, "The DC-8 has been used to support the agency’s Airborne Science mission since 1987. This unique aircraft was first acquired by NASA in 1985 and collected data for experiments in support of scientific projects serving the world’s scientific community – including scientists, researchers, and students from NASA and other federal, state, academic, and foreign institutions."

Aircraft like this are typically donated to museums, but the university was able to acquire the craft after submitting an application through a federal surplus database, explaining how they could use the plane for educational purposes.

"We are so happy that this historic aircraft is going to continue its educational legacy where future aircraft technicians can learn firsthand what makes the DC-8 so special," said Kirsten Boogaard, the DC-8 Deputy Project Manager.

This jet is the most expensive donation from the federal government to the State of Idaho. Its transfer from NASA to ISU benefits both parties and saves taxpayer money.

"NASA has the responsibility of sunsetting existing platforms in a way that's advantageous to the taxpayer," said Taylor Mcquain with NASA's Logistics Management Division. "And, that's what we're looking at today. This was a mutually beneficial agreement that we've come to, and it saved NASA quite a bit of money — money that we would have had to pay a third party. Just positioning this aircraft so it transfers is really the best outcome."

The DC-8 completed its final mission for NASA on April 1st. It will continue to be used by ISU students for as they work to become aircraft technicians. NASA personnel left the craft with a final recitation of a motto written near the cockpit by its former crew chief.

"Many talented people maintained and operated this machine," Boogaard read. "To us, she's more than a machine. She is and always will be the standard all that follow will be measured against. She is a legend, and we love her."

This handwritten motto is found near the cockpit inside the DC-8 jet.
Article Topic Follows: Education

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Ashley Chilcutt

Ashley is a reporter and producer for Local News 8.


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