NASA 928 - WB-57F or Global Express? Hmm...


First post from this aviation geek. I like to keep tabs on the NASA WB-57 (926NA, 928NA) and ER-1 (806NA, 809NA) flights, mostly because they’re so unusual - FL500 is not uncommon. On 27 FEB 08, NASA 928 was a WB-57F out of Ellington field on a routine training hop. Today, it’s a Bomby GlobEx headed to Coronel Enrique Soto Cano AB (MHSC) in Honduras.

Here’s the current flight (in progress at the time of this writing).

A quick check of the FAA database returns empty for 928NA, but 926NA shows up as the “other” WB-57F. NASA has a bucketful of G’s: 2NA and 944NA through 950NA.

What gives?

(Edited to correct the A/C make/model. I was hung up on the fact that it wasn’t the Canberra I was looking for!)


Tracking it right now show it as a Bombardier Global Express in route to Coronel Enrique Soto Cano Ab


They’ve just used the same flight number for a different aircraft.

Gulfstream Aerospace does this frequently with test flight numbers too. For example flight “GLF83” might be a G-IV one day and a G550 the next.


This is the first NASA flight that I’ve seen in which the flight number did not correspond to the registration number of the A/C.


Gulfstream, and Learjet, are the two that I know of that use call signs for test and training flights where the number is actually assigned to a person by the company. Flight safety instructors included too. That is why the type changes from one flight to the next. At least that was true when I did my type rating training for the Lear 60 back in the dark days before they had the simulator up and running.



That is NASA 928 and it is operating out of MHCS


Do you know what the nature of the mission is at MHSC?


“Weather Research” :wink:


I notice that the leading scientific journals - National Enquirer, Weekly World News, Globe - report a majority of “weather balloon / swamp gas” sightings in Central America. I’m certain that the flight crew of this particular GlobEx wore black suits and Ray-bans, and politely asked the residents of a number of small Honduran villages to look at the flashy thing.

Just a second … receptionist just called to tell me that there are a couple of “gentlemen” here to see me. brb


Usually file for radar vectors to VFR on top (Above 60,0000 ft,) then go where you want. Not much traffic up here.


You win the “Coolest Job on FlightAware” award, man!


You win the “Coolest Job on FlightAware” award, man!

Me ? No. Just a retired old RB-57F pilot.

see: for acft info


Well, boys and girls, NASA 928 made it back to Ellington Field (KEFD) on Monday. The flight from SKBO (Eldorado Int’l) to KNQX (Key West Arpt) on 17 MAR 08 doesn’t show up in the history log, though.

So, apparently, it went to Central America as a Global Express, and came back as a WB-57F. :confused: I think the Global Express tag was incorrect. As I said in a previous post, I’ve yet to see a NASA flight number that didn’t correspond to the A/C registration number.



U-2 and RB-57 sircraft have been assigned to the CIA, USAF, Office of Naval Research (Carrier flying), NACA, NASA, just about everything except the US Army. Most of it is smoke and mirrors. They all belong to the US government; tail numbers and paint schemes are changed overnight. Vinyl peels off easily.Deceptive flight plans or VFR on top (above 60,000 - no route specified) are the norm. One of the biggest customers is a little know USAF organization know as th Air Force Technical Applications Center. (AFTAC). Interesting reading at:

Key West