my ER-2 from Hawk. The model is very simple to assemble and most of the work was
done in the cockpit since there is almost nothing in it except a seat and an
instrument panel. I didn't use the pilot because I preferred to add a better seat
with harness, a floorboard and a control column handwheel all made from spare
parts. I also fit a turbine in the exhaust nozzle for the kit comes with no
parts to fit in the exhaust nozzle. The painting was done with Revell enamel
paints. Weathering was very subtle and consisted mostly of chipped paint on the
edge of some service panels and dust in the intakes. NASA ER-2s are very clean.
The chipping was done with a 6B pencil.
NASA acquired its first ER-2 aircraft in 1981 and a second in 1989. They replaced two Lockheed U-2 aircraft, which NASA had used to collect science data since 1971. The U-2s, and later the ER-2s, were based at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, CA, until 1997, when the ER-2s and their operations moved to NASA Dryden.
The ER-2 is a versatile aircraft well suited to perform multiple mission tasks. The ER-2 operates at altitudes from 20,000 feet to 70,000 feet, which is above 99 percent of the Earth's atmosphere.
Photos and text © by Ulysses Almeida