As reported by the NASA website the iconic NASA F/A-18A , a popular landmark in front of “The Hangar” — the Lancaster Municipal Stadium — in Lancaster, Calif., for the past 17 years, was demounted from its pylon in front of the stadium entrance Dec. 12 and transported overland to the NASA Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in nearby Palmdale for temporary storage.The F/A-18, which is perched atop a 28-foot-high pedestal, is on loan from NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base. As the 11th pre-production F/A-18, the single-seat “A” model jet was at the end of its flying life and had been retired, when it was installed in front of the stadium in March of 1997. NASA Dryden had obtained the developmental aircraft in 1987 to use as a mission-support or “chase” aircraft, meaning it was used by Dryden’s pilots, engineers and photographers to observe other research craft in flight and shoot video and photographs of test flights.At the moment four F/A-18 Hornet aircraft are being flown by NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif., for research support and pilot proficiency. The aircraft were obtained from the U.S. Navy between 1984 and 1991. Two have a two-seat cockpit while the others are single-seat aircraft. NASA research support aircraft are commonly called chase planes and fill the role of escort aircraft during research missions.Weighing about 16,300 lbs. empty without its engines, landing gear, avionics and life support systems, the F/A-18 airframe is scheduled to again be placed on display at the stadium entrance prior to the first Lancaster JetHawks California League baseball game in mid-April 2014 ( Source NASA).