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A/RIA

The Apollo/Range Instrumentation Aircraft (later, the Advanced Range Instrumentation Aircraft) was a modified EC-135 with a nose modified to accommodate a 7-foot S-band tracking dish. During Project Apollo, the A/RIA provided tracking coverage by flying over areas not served by ground stations.

The Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station has a series of pages about the A/RIA, including one page with a cut-away photo (scroll down) showing the dish antenna.

There's also flyARIA.com, an entire site dedicated to the aircraft. It has numerous photos (including a cool shot of about a dozen A/RIA lined up on a runway) and has a page dedicated to the A/RIA displayed at the Air Force Museum, Bird of Prey, SN 60-374 -- be sure to view the slide show for photos of the 7-foot dish without the nose fairing and a picture of the plane's nose art back when it was in its prime.

Google Maps link to the plane's location on the flight line.

 
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