Aircraft List

The NASA Airborne Science Program provides a unique set of NASA supported aircraft that benefit the earth science community. These manned and unmanned aircraft carry the sensors that provide data to support and augment NASA spaceborne missions.

Reminder: All investigators with approved or pending proposals from the Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences (ROSES) announcements that have a requirement for a NASA Airborne Science platform/instrument, must submit a Flight Request. The Flight Request is also the method to acquire an estimate if your proposal requires a cost estimate for Airborne Science support. However, for investigators proposing to participate on large, multi-aircraft experiments, a single Flight Request will be submitted for each mission by the Project Manager or Project Scientist. The Science Operations Flight Request System (SOFRS) can be reached directly at

Non-NASA Aircraft
NASA instrumentation may fly on non-NASA Federal aircraft as well as academic and commercial platforms for which agreements for access by SMD investigators are in place, in process, or have recently been approved by NASA Aviation Management as airworthy and safe to operate. For more information, please review the current ASP Call Letter for further requirements and guidance. Please note that in addition to filing the required Flight Request, investigators are responsible for contacting vendors to determine if the platform meets the requirements of the proposed scientific investigation. It is also the responsibility of the investigator to ensure that before any preliminary test flights or actual data collection flights utilizing NASA personnel, instruments or funds occur, all vendors successfully complete a NASA airworthiness/flight safety review in accordance with NASA Aviation Safety Policy for Non-NASA Aircraft.

UV-18 Twin Otter – Navy – VXS-1

UV-18 Twin Otter

Scientific Development Squadron ONE (VXS-1) operates a UV-18 Twin Otter research aircraft to support science and technology development projects.  The low speed, low altitude flight envelope as well as its small support footprint have enabled this low cost platform to be operated from remote locations across the North American continent. 
UV-18 features include:
            Two bubble windows (port & starboard)
            Two zenith ports
            Nose compartment camera port/turret mount and smaller nadir port
            Large aft fuselage cutout (27.5” x 36”)
            Removable wing pylons
            Sonobuoy/dropsonde deployment chute 
            Dedicated power distribution system
Additionally, the cargo door is equipped with hard-points for antenna installation via an external truss. The open architecture design of the aircraft interior with mounting rails and project power distribution system enable the aircraft to be uniquely configured according to project requirements.

Point(s) of Contact:
VXS-1 Project Director
LCDR Brandon J. Adams
Work: (301)-342-3504
VXS-1 Project Liaison Officer
Mr. Stephen Rorke
Work: (301)-342-4945

Naval Research Laboratory
Scientific Development Squadron ONE (VXS-1)
Conventional fixed-wing, twin-turboprop, unpressurized cabin
5.5 hours (payload and weather dependent)
Useful Payload: 
1,500 lbs
Gross Take-off Weight: 
12,500 lbs
Onboard Operators: 
Max Altitude: 
Air Speed: 
166 knots
500 Nmi
1 Phase 60Hz 115VAC, 28VDC