Rare NASA WB-57 Formation Flight Over Houston

Last airworthy WB-57s join for historic flight.

NASA WB-57
NASA WB-57
NASA

Last week in Houston the public got a rare treat as the last three airworthy WB-57 airplanes took to the skies for a historic photo flight. It was the first time they had flown together since the 1970s.

The three WB-57s took off from NASA's Ellington Airport facility on Thursday for a formation flight around the greater Houston area. The event was to showcase the unique aircraft and how its crews prepare for their usual high altitude flights that are conducted above 55,000 feet. But crowds were treated to a much lower pass and were encouraged to take videos and photos to share on social media.

Here's a look at the WB-57s taking off into formation.

And...take off! All 3 #WB57 aircraft successfully in formation for their historic flight. https://t.co/ykqAMAscK8 pic.twitter.com/1PT1x1v0ZH — Johnson Space Center (@NASA_Johnson) November 19, 2015

The WB-57 was developed from the English Electric Canberra and first entered service with the United States Air Force as a tactical bomber. But the aircraft has been flying research missions since the early 1960s and continue to do so, including recent missions that assisted during this year's hurricane season.