a NASA WB-57 crew prepares to depart Robins Air Force Base Saturday to track Hurricane Joaquin. Right, Don Darrow, the sensor equipment operator, is responsible for the operation of all payloads on the aircraft as well as assisting the pilot, Dave Johnson, in navigation, communications and checklists. The aircraft is capable of flying at altitudes above 60,000 feet. At 12 miles high, the environment is inhospitable to people. Flight rules mandate that for flight above 50,000 feet, crewmembers must wear a full-pressure suit. If the cabins were to depressurize, or the crew was forced to eject, it would be the only means of survival. The aircraft is stationed at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, Texas.
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