In all the years, all the flights, all my reading and watching, I never had any idea that the aft flap below the main engine bells was articulated! A thirty-year program with 135 missions, and even now, nearly a decade after the program ended, I'm still learning cool new stuff about it. I love how there were actually people inside the tail cone while it was being cranked into position. Rick Sturckow was a hard lander. On 117 and 128 one could see the main gear hit the runway surface quite fast vertically. Unlike Crippen, Gibson or others. To not be in any doubt wether they actually landed. Must be from his F-18-nning days. Spent many hours at Dryden for orbiter landing and turnaround. I see lots of friends in this video. Got to fly in the pathfinder aircraft, usually a C-130 or C-141 that carried a small crew of techs, inspectors, and a Thermal Protection System engineer, and some orbiter equipment back to KSC. The pathfinder aircraft also did just that, flew the planned route a few miles ahead of the SCA/Orbiter to ensure no precipitation was on the route. At ferry flight speed rain could damage the insulating tiles, and certain tiles would wick up the rain since their waterproofing burned out at just over 1000 deg. F. Turns out that ferry flight was hard on the quartz fabric gap fillers. The relatively sustained low speed/high density air impinged on gap fillers and thermal barriers causing erosion. KSC landings were the preferred landing site for many reasons.