Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Most far out thing I've seen in a while, NASA used a Pontiac Catalina as a tow car for an experiemental aircraft


Thanks to John Torres! Who filled me in on the story of the Catalina; This Pontiac was driven at speeds up to about 120 mph. It needed to be able to tow the M2-F1 on Rogers Dry Lakebed next to NASA's Flight Research Center (FRC) now named Dryden Flight Research Center (DFRC) at a minimum speed of 100 miles per hour. To do that, it had to handle the 400-pound pull of the M2-F1. Walter "Whitey" Whiteside, who was working in the Flight Operations Division, was a dirt-bike rider and hot-rodder. Together with Boyden "Bud" Bearce in the Procurement and Supply Branch acquired the Pontiac Catalina convertible with the largest engine available and then sent it to Bill Straup's 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. It proved adequate for the roughly 400 car tows that got the M2-F1 airborne to prove it could fly safely and to train pilots before they were towed aloft behind a C-47 aircraft and released


Pontiac Catalina tow car for NASA’s M1-F2 lifting body aircraft, c.1963

found on http://www.motoriginal.com/post/51195565490/pontiac-catalina-tow-car-for-nasas-m1-f2-lifting

1 comment: