Insitu Inc., today announced that it donated a ScanEagle unmanned aircraft, which participated in a widely publicized rescue mission in April 2009, to The Museum of Flight in Seattle. The aircraft will be displayed for several weeks in the Museum lobby then withdrawn to be prepared for permanent exhibit in the museum’s Great Gallery in 2013.
After Somali pirates assaulted a U.S. cargo ship, the Maersk Alabama, ScanEagle aircraft No. 678, was one of several ScanEagle’s that provided real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance imagery that contributed to the rescue of the captain, who had been held hostage in the ship’s lifeboat.
“For years, The Museum of Flight has educated and inspired the public by telling the story of aerospace,” said Insitu President and CEO Steve Morrow. “We are honored that ScanEagle will be represented in the museum’s next chapter. This aircraft, developed, built and supported by people in the Northwest, serves globally and continues to advance the exciting journey of unmanned flight.”
ScanEagle will be among 150 of some of the most rare aircraft and space vehicles in one of the largest and most comprehensive air and space collections in the United States. Insitu is pleased that one of its flagship aircrafts will be an integral part of educating generations to come on the future of unmanned systems.
“ScanEagle fills a special place in the museum’s collection of reconnaissance aircraft,” said The Museum of Flight Chief Curator Dan Hagedorn. “The fact that this particular aircraft is a veteran of a significant, recent mission is especially valuable. It will help our visitors relate to the headlines of today.”
Hagedorn also noted that the plane’s future location in the Museum’s Great Gallery will help show how aerial reconnaissance has progressed from the massive Blackbird aircraft of the 1960s to the diminutive ScanEagle of today.