The DC-8 Airborne Laboratory in a left banking turn above the airport at Palmdale, California. The right wing is silhouetted against the blue sky, while the left wing contrasts with the desert terrain. The former airliner is a "dash-72" model and has a range of 5,400 miles. The craft can stay airborne for 12 hours and has an operational speed range between 300 and 500 knots. The research flights are made at between 500 and 41,000 feet. The aircraft can carry up to 30,000 lbs of research/science payload equipment installed in 15 mission-definable spaces.