Venerable Boeing 707 “Sashambre” Operated By MIT Lincoln Laboratory Has Flown Its Final Data Collection Mission

N404PA landing at KBQK on Jan. 8, 2020. (Image credit: @epicaviation47)

The Heavily Modified B707 N404PA will be transferred to the scrap yard next month.

On Sept. 15, 2020, the Boeing 707-321B carrying civil registration N404PA, recently renamed “Sashambre” (previously, “Hannah” and “Paul Revere”), flew its final data collection mission. The following day, on Sept. 16, the aircraft flew its last training flight. It will be prepared and then it will fly to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base to be retired at the “scrapyard”.

As we have reported just a few days ago:

N404PA is an experimental aircraft owned by the Air Force Systems Command and operated by a joint venture between the Air Force’s 350th Electronic Systems Wing and M.I.T.’s Lincoln Labs. It flew with Pan Am for many years since 1965 before being purchased by the Air Force. Based at Hanscom Air Force Base, Bedford, Massachusetts, “Sashambre” is one of the seven aircraft aircraft that research teams at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Labs Flight Test Facility’s staff can employ to test their prototype airborne systems: in fact, MIT researchers routinely schedule flight time with aircraft that range from the light C-152 to the heavy B707 “to evaluate new antennas, imagers for air surveillance, aircraft collision-avoidance tools, and long-range RF and laser communication systems,” as well as for for data collection missions.

Under the radio callsign “Research 4 Papa Alpha”, the B707 is used for testing airborne battle management, command, control and communication technology and concepts. The airframe has constantly been modified to accommodate new on-board sensors and equipment so much so the shape of the of the 55-year old Boeing 707, with a bunch of “bulks” and “humps” is pretty unique, and interesting.

The Lincoln Labs announced the final mission on their social media channels:

To read more about this legendary aircraft, read the post we published here.

H/T Misael Oscar for the heads up.



About David Cenciotti 4174 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.