Picture of the Day: T-38 Jet Silhouetted Against the Sun

539844main_t-38_silhouette_full.jpg

Terry Virts, a NASA photographer, captured this image of a T-38 jet silhouetted against the sun. An American twin-engine jet, the T-38 was the world's first supersonic trainer and is used by air forces around the world. The United States Air Force is the largest user of the T-38, but NASA also uses the plane as a jet trainer for its astronauts.

NASA keeps a fleet of 21 T-38s stationed at Ellington Field in Houston, Texas, which is down from the 30-35 aircraft it once owned. The organization projects that its number of operational 1960s-era trainers will fall to 16 by 2015, which will help reduce the $25 million to $30 million it spends every year to fly and maintain the fleet.

Despite a series of non-fatal accidents throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s -- engine failures, emergency landings, bird strikes, landing mishaps, etc. -- there is no rush to replace the T-38 jet, according to Aviation Week.

View more Pictures of the Day.

Image: NASA.

Presented by

Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

Video

The Faces of #BlackLivesMatter

Scenes from a recent protest in New York City

Video

Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life

The Supreme Court justice talks gender equality and marriage.

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

More in Technology

Just In