4.14.2008

Random Aviation Post

Here's one I hadn't seen before: the "Tip Tow" project.

The problem: how to provide fighter coverage for long-range bombers when your fighters have nothing near the range of the bombers.
The solution: hook your fighters onto the wingtips of the bombers, shut down their engines, and let them have a free ride until they're needed.


The bomber, a B-29 Superfortress variant, was fitted with wingtip receptacles that allowed for the fighters, two modified F-84s, to hook up their own wingtip brackets in flight. Once connected and latched into place the fighters were locked in step with the bomber about their pitch and yaw axes, but free on their roll axis.

The fighters' elevators were used to assist as extended control surfaces for the bomber. In testing they accomplished this manually via control inputs from the fighter pilots, but the goal was to incorporate control of the fighters' control surfaces with the bomber's control surfaces automatically from the cockpit of the bomber. Upon first activation of the automatic system, however, the fighter immediately rolled over into the bomber, taking both to the ground and killing all on board.

The final solution: in-flight refueling.

4 comments:

kinsanth said...

Everytime I think I've seen every bizarre military contraption from the World Wars, something 'new' always pops up that I'd never heard of.

Crazy.

kinsanth said...

Ah, man, then I read further, and realize it's not WWII... but the Cold War.


Even crazier.

Brandon said...

Random! But sweet.

Simon said...

Hilarious idea. Total crap for the guys on board though.