M2-F1 behind C-47
The M2-F1 flies at the end of a tow rope behind a C-47 aircraft, probably sometime in 1964. During this series of tests, the C-47 would tow the prototype spacecraft to an altitude of 12,000 feet, and then release it to glide back to the Rogers Dry Lake bed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, in a descent that NASA says typically would take about two minutes, with speeds topping out at about 120 miles per hour.
Earlier flight tests had involved being towed from the ground by what NASA calls "a hopped-up Pontiac convertible." The space agency elaborates: "Walter 'Whitey' Whiteside, who was a retired Air Force maintenance officer working in the [Flight Research Center]'s Flight Operations Division, was a dirt-bike rider and hot-rodder. Together with Boyden 'Bud' Bearce in the Procurement and Supply Branch of the FRC, Whitey acquired a Pontiac Catalina convertible with the largest engine available. He took the car to Bill Straup's renowned hot-rod shop near Long Beach for modification. With a special gearbox and racing slicks, the Pontiac could tow the 1,000-pound M2-F1 110 miles per hour in 30 seconds."
Altogether, there were about 400 ground tows and 77 aircraft tows for the M2-F1.
April 11, 2010 6:00 AM PDT
Photo by: NASA Dryden Flight Research Center (NASA-DFRC)
| Caption by: Jonathan Skillings
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