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Navy Tomcats begin final combat tour

Norfolk, Va. The Navy’s “Top Gun” planes are on their last combat mission.

The two squadrons of active F-14 Tomcats left Oceana Naval Air Station this week to join the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, which pulled out of Norfolk Naval Station on Thursday en route to war duty in the Persian Gulf.

The air wing also includes F/A-18 Hornets, which along with Super Hornets will replace all the F-14s in the next year.

Maintenance is the reason the Navy is replacing the F-14s with the smaller, slower F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets. The Hornets’ advanced technology makes them easier to maintain.

Museums and military bases will put some of the aging Tomcats on display. Others will be preserved in case they are needed again.

Pilot killed in crash near Teterboro airport

South Hackensack, N.J. A small plane crashed into a post office building near Teterboro Airport late Friday, killing the pilot and injuring a passenger, authorities said.

The single-engine Cessna struck the South Hackensack Post Office building as the plane was trying to land. The plane ended up crumpled nose-first against a brick wall near a loading dock. There was no immediate word on the extent of the passenger’s injuries.

The crash site is about a half-mile from Teterboro Airport, one of the nation’s busiest small airports.

Scientists maneuver to extend Hubble’s life

Greenbelt, Md. In a gambit calculated to add months to the life of the Hubble Space Telescope, scientists this week shut down one of the telescope’s gyroscopes.

Hubble has been operating since Monday on just two gyros, something its designers never imagined. But by idling the third gyro and holding it in reserve, engineers and astronomers hope to buy more time for shuttle astronauts to reach the observatory with new gyros, fresh batteries and new scientific instruments.

Preston M. Burch, Hubble program manager at the Goddard Space Flight Center, said the two-gyro strategy should extend Hubble’s lifetime through mid-2008, adding nearly two years to its observations.


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