Testing Limits – Pushing Frontiers


Welcome to my website of NASA´s huge and historical fleet of one-of-the-kind research aircraft, often called and described as

Big nasa-wings-logo

My intention is to show you the large variety of aircraft used in the last decades by NASA and its predecessor, the NACA.


"Flying The Frontiers" by Arthur PearcySince 1987 I seriously started as a model builder with NASA´s historical and recent astronautical achievements, especially with custom model kits of the Apollo- and Space-Shuttle era.
In 1993, I discovered a new field of interest, the more or less unknown (in the German public) first A in NASA: The aeronautical research. I have been inspired to focus on NASA-aircraft by my first book dealing with this subject: "Flying The Frontiers" by Arthur Pearcy (Airlife Publishing Ltd, 1993; see right picture).

To show you the exploring spirit of the people involved in aeronautical research of those days, I quote as follows (THOMPSON, M., PEEBLES, C. ,1999):
"When the Space Shuttle ´Columbia´ came out of the reentry blackout April 14, 1981, my eyes filled with tears. NASA had accomplished a lifting reentry and a fly-back to a precise landing on Rogers Dry Lake at Edwards Air Force Base. When I arrived at Edward 1956, I didn´t foresee what I was about to be part of. The golden age of flight test was nearing its end. We were almost finished with the X-1 program; the X-3, X-4, and X-5 programs had ended; and the X-2 was in trouble. I thought to myself, "The X-programs are all over, I´ve missed it all." Then came the X-15, the Dyna-Soar program, the Parasev, and the lifting bodies. I hadn´t missed it after all."

Over the following years, I have been trying to set up an unique fleet, as extensive as possible, of aircraft – helicopters, jet- and rocket-powered planes – NASA has had in its inventory over the years.
My fleet of NASA-aircraft comprises now more than forty models, all in scale 1:72 for better comparison. Usually, I have trying to use customary plastic model kits by customary manufacturers. In order to match the original, I often had to convert these kits and had to create the required decals and paint schemes on my own. Some types of NASA-aircraft are represented in multiple versions.

OV-101 "Enterprise", OV-103 "Discovery", Shuttle-C, Lifting Bodies from ASSET, PRIME, M2F1, M2F2, HL-10, X-24A to X-24B, KC-135A, WB-57F, NC-130B, P-3, YF-12C, U-2C, B-57B, B737-130, F-4A, F-5F, A-5A, SC-7, AV-8A, OV-10A, F-14A, F-15A, F-16A, F16XL, F-18A und TF-18, F-20A, XF-85, F-100C, F-104A, F-104N, TF-104G, (Q)F-106A, NF-106B, F-111A, XV-6A, YAV-8B, XV-15A, T-38A, Cessna 172, AH-1G, SH-3G, X-1, X-13, X-15, X-29A and new models are still to come...

Since 1990 I have been a member of the VdPM Hannover e.V., one of Germany´s eldest scale modelling societies. Founded in 1979, the VdPM (Verein der Plastik Modellbauer) currently has about 70 members and covers Hanover region. At our annual model-exhibition, I present my models to the public (see pictures below).


More infos

Model-exhibition highlights

Visits at DFRC/Edwards AFB

My own way to become a "real AIRLINER"

Own air sport activities




More information about me:


Air- & Space-related visits until now:

For more than 25 years I have been dealing extensively with Air- & Space

Since 1987 air- & space-related plastic-modelling

Since 1990 member of the "Verein der Plastik-Modellbauer Hannover e.V."

From 1998 till 2000 second Chairman and from 2002 till 2005 webmaster of the society´s website

Since 1992 subscriber of the periodical "Raumfahrt-Journal", published by T. Block, Goslar (Germany)

Since 1996 member of the "British Interplanetary Society" (BIS) and subscriber of the monthly BIS-magazine "Spaceflight"

Since 2000 user of air- & space-related websites

Since 2005 operator of my own hobby-website

Logo des Buergerforums PRO Hannover-Airport e.V.Since the summer of 2018 member of the "Bürgerforum PRO Hannover-Airport e.V.", which is committed to strengthening the important economic factor of supraregional importance and to a fair reconciliation of interests with (aircraft noise) affected people.
Detailed information can be found at:


1992 and 1996 visit of the Kennedy Space Center, Florida

1992 and 1993 visit of the National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C.

1993 visit of the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space-Museum, New York

1994 visit of the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas

1995 visit of the Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, Michigan, the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the Michigan Space Center, Jackson, the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Illinois, the Neil A. Armstrong Museum, Wapakoneta, Ohio and of the U.S. Air Force Museum, Dayton, Ohio including the Annex located at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

1996 and 1997 visit of the Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards Air Force Base, California

1997 and 2005 visit of the Flugwerft Schleissheim as a part of the Deutsche Museum München

2009 model exhibition at the Deutsche Raumfahrtausstellung as part of the DLR, Morgenröthe-Rautenkranz

2012 at least visit of the Historisch-Technisches Museum Peenemünde

2011, 2013 & 2015 model exhibitions at the Tag der Luft- und Raumfahrt at DLR-main base, Cologne top



My model-exhibition highlights so far

As member of the VdPM Hannover e.V. since 1990 I took part for a large number of model exhibitions.

And to take part at the "Day of Aerospace" in 2009 in Morgenröthe-Rautenkranz (see report) at the "Deutschen Raumfahrtausstellung" was already outstanding.

But as my personal "knighthood" I perceived the peerless opportunity to present a variety of my models at the "Day of Aerospace" 2011 at the DLR in Cologne-Porz (see report), the german equivalent of NASA Headquarters and most important R&D site. This experience would be only to surpass by a presentation of my models anywhere at NASA itself. But why not? At DLR it worked well – and I have a dream...{;-)
Later I was again given the opportunity to show a selection of my models on the "Day of Aerospace" 2013 (see report) and 2015 (see report) at the DLR in Cologne-Porz to the public.
Many thanks for invitation, DLR!

Here are some photos of historical exhibition participations:

The author with a selection of his model-fleet
Model-EXPO of the VdPM Hannover in the glass hall of the HCC 1997: The author of the website...
(Photograph: Rösner)

The model-display, comprising various air- and spacecraft
...with a selection of NASA aircraft and space models in 1:72 on the exhibition table
(Photograph: Rösner)

The author with a selection of his model-fleet
The author of the website with a selection of his model-fleet during...

The model-display, comprising various air- and spacecraft
...the annual plastic-modelling exhibition of the VdPM Hannover in 2005

Model-display of the author
In 2010 as a guest exhibitor in the Musik- und Kongesshalle (MUK) at the...

Model-display of the author in detail
...PMC Lübeck with the STS stack and the OV-101 in the finished structural work top



My visits at DFRC/Edwards AFB

During a three-week vacation trip through the Southwest of the USA I visited (by a stroke of good fortune) the DFRC on the weekend of September 6th and 7th in 1996. Exactly that weekend the DFRC celebrated an open house day and airshow to commemorate its 50th anniversary. I was very lucky by chance, because until my arrival at Lancaster, California, on September 5th I didn´t knew anything about this unique event!
So, I took this opportunity to have a look behind the scenes of the DFRC, to talk to DFRC-staff and to photograph extensively.

Of course, I know that the DFRC has been officially redesignated to "Armstrong Flight Research Center" (ARFC) on March 1st, 2014. But for me it will still remain the DFRC. Especially because I am dealing specifically with historical research programs and aircraft.

The author on the apron of the DFRC   Logo 50 years of DFRC
The author of this website on the apron of the Dryden Flight Research Center, after a visit of the SCA "NASA 905" and in front of the huge aircraft-hangar 4802, containing the exhibition of NASA-aircraft commemorating 50 years of Dryden Flight Research Center
(Photograph: Scharfenberg)
The official logo of Dryden Flight Research Center commemorating the 50th anniversary (September 30th, 1946) as former station of Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory

Just 13 month later, on the weekend of October 18th and 19th in 1997, I visited Edwards Air Force Base again for the mega-event "Edwards Open House and Air Show", celebrating 50 years of U.S. Air Force und 50 years of supersonic flight. A truly never-to-be-forgotton experience! top



My own way to become a "real AIRLINER"

End of January 2013 I started a new professional retraining as a Warehouse Logistic Expert. This is a whole new qualification to be completed within 23 months and which ended in January 2015 by passing the final examination for the officially accredited profession with the overall grade: good (85%). Important parts of the professional retraining have been two three months lasting blocks of work experience. I was able to complete successfully both blocks at the same company.

As someone who lives in Langenhagen since 1969 and was grown up with the airport, I never missed an ILA from 1980 to 1990. Neither on the roof of my parents' bungalow nor alongside the runway fence or on the exhibition grounds. As a general aviation and aerospace enthusiast and a plastic model builder working in this division, nothing better could happen to me as getting an internship just at the logistics division of TUIfly GmbH (klick here for WIKIPEDIA-article), which is located at the Hannover-Langenhagen airport!

After determining the reliability according to § 7 LuftSiG I started my internship in the section "Material, Planning, Procurement & Supply" of the department "Maintenance" of TUIfly GmbH.

For this, I not only got my internal employees card but also my individual IATA number. Thus I became a "real AIRLINER", also I was the proud owner of an official employee ID card as a trainee!

The first internship, I graduated from 15 July 2013 to 25 October, the second one followed in the same section from 03 February 2014 to 29 April.

It was a highly demanding, varying time with many exciting events and deep insights that I could never win as "John Doe" otherwise.

Great times made by great people. Stay as great as you are, you all really deserve it. Your merit is my success!

Many thanks to all the employees of TUIfly GmbH, with whom I was able to work together, for the very friendly reception, the willingness to help and patience when I once again wanted something "exactly".

Below a few photo impressions of this beautiful time:

Indoor shot of hangar 2 Indoor shot of hangar 2 Indoor shot of hangar 2
Hangar 2 with three B737

Hangar 2 with B737 as "Phase Out" and tractor

Hangar 1 with B737 at maintenance dock I

Indoor shot of hangar 1 Indoor shot of hangar 1 Indoor shot of shipping dept.
CFM56-jet-engine in transport rack

Shipping preparation for two CFM56-jet-engines

Main and nose wheels for B737 at shipping dept.

Apron shot The author of the website in TUIfly-Outfit! Apron shot
Arrival of the new B737 "D-ATUM"

As close as possible! Thanks to Franz Hah!

AOG-shipping of a B737-brake to Heraklion


From April 2018 until the end of 2021, I had the privilege of working as Receiving Inspector Incoming Goods (TUI E&M Part-145 MOE) for TUIfly GmbH in the logistics department of the Hanover Base Maintenance. The main tasks were:

To have worked as a real airliner for TUIfly was the fulfillment of a dream I had never dared to dream before. Unfortunately, this dream did not even last four years, after 1356 days at the end of 2021 it was over.
Thanks to all for this great experience, because I had the privilege to have turned my hobby into my profession.
To paraphrase Tom Hanks aka James Lovell in the movie "Apollo 13":

"Gentlemen, it's been a privilege flying with you!"

KLETZM over and out

B737-fotocollage top



Own air sport activities

Eigene "Luftaufnahme" des Autors am Gleitschirm hängend
Flying in the most natural way:
The author of the website as paraglider,
a "selfie" already taken in 1993!
No less memorable were my own experiences with the air sports: In the early 1990s, I have even used the opportunity literally to "go up in the air" for myself: For four years I flew as a paraglider in Northern Germany, Austria and South Tyrol. Unfortunately, at the end of my studies I could no longer to continue in this great air sport by lack of time. As a "compensation", in 1995 I made a tandem parachute jump. Also a very nice sport! In the truest sense of the word "horizon-expanding"!

Further activities around aviation have been flights with the original Ju 52 of the Swiss "Ju-Air", a Ford "Trimotor" of the "Kalamazoo Air Zoo", a C-47/DC-3 operated by "Air Service Berlin," an Antonov AN-2, a Bell "Jet Ranger", a glider two-seater and a ride in a hot air balloon. Still things missing are a ride in a zeppelin or blimp and a nice sightseeing flight with a beautiful vintage biplane... top


I hope you have learned a little about myself and my interests/intentions and you have enjoyed visiting my comprehensive website.

Any suggestions of improvement, corrections or further information about NASA-aircraft would be greatly appreciated. Please feel free (or please don´t hesitate) to contact me via e-mail.

I hereby assure I only have informative and respectively educational intentions (for private use only) and I pursue no commercial interests neither on this website nor in the sources I have used and stated.

If not stated otherwise all photographs have come from NASA.

Have fun looking!

Michael Kletzsch

Langenhagen, Germany

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"The author is not responsible for any contents linked or referred to from this website."

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