Northrop M2-F2 Airplane Videos and Airplane Pictures

Northrop M2-F2 Video - Great pictures and video

Northrop M2-F2 Video - NASA Lifting Body Tests HL-10, M2-F2, M2-F3

Northrop M2-F2 Aircraft Information

Northrop M2-F2


Role: Lifting body
National origin: United States
Manufacturer: Northrop
First flight: 12 July 1966
Retired: 10 May 1967
Status: Rebuilt as M2-F3
Primaryuser: NASA
Number built: 1
Developed from: NASA M2-F1
Variants: Northrop M2-F3

The Northrop M2-F2 was a heavyweight lifting body based on studies at NASA's Ames and Langley research centers. Built by the Northrop Corporation in 1966. The "M" refers to "manned" and "F" refers to "flight" version.


The success of Dryden's M2-F1 program led to NASA's development and construction of two heavyweight lifting bodies based on studies at NASA's Ames and Langley research centers-the M2-F2 and the HL-10, both built by the Northrop Corporation. The "M" refers to "manned" and "F" refers to "flight" version. "HL" comes from "horizontal landing" and 10 is for the tenth lifting body model to be investigated by Langley. (See also NASA Ames Research Center).

The M2-F2 made its first captive flight (attached to the B-52 carrier aircraft throughout the flight) on March 23, 1966.

The first flight of the M2-F2 - which looked much like the "M2-F1" - was on July 12, 1966. Milton O. Thompson was the pilot.

By then, the same B-52 used to air launch the famed X-15 rocket research aircraft was modified to also carry the lifting bodies. Thompson was dropped from the B-52's wing pylon mount at an altitude of 45,000 feet (13,700 m) on that maiden glide flight. He reached a gliding speed of about 450 miles per hour (720km/h).

Operational history

Airplane Picture - The crash site of the M2-F2

Picture - The crash site of the M2-F2

Before powered flights were undertaken, a series of glide flights were conducted. On May 10, 1967, the sixteenth and last glide flight ended in disaster as the vehicle slammed into the lake bed on landing. With test pilot Bruce Peterson at the controls, the M2-F2 suffered a pilot induced oscillation (PIO) as it neared the lake bed. The vehicle rolled from side to side in flight as he tried to bring it under control. Peterson recovered, but then observed a rescue helicopter that seemed to pose a collision threat. Distracted, Peterson drifted in a cross-wind to an unmarked area of the lake bed where it was very difficult to judge the height over the ground because of a lack of guidance (the markers provided on the lake bed runway).

Peterson fired the landing rockets to provide additional lift, but he hit the lake bed before the landing gear was fully down and locked. The M2-F2 rolled over six times, coming to rest upside down. Pulled from the vehicle by Jay King and Joseph Huxman, Peterson was rushed to the base hospital, transferred to March Air Force Base and then the UCLA Hospital. He recovered but lost vision in his right eye due to a staphylococcal infection.

Portions of M2-F2 footage including Peterson's spectacular crash landing were used for the 1973 TV movie The Six Million Dollar Man though some shots during the opening credits of the series showed the later HL-10 model, during release from its carrier plane, a modified B-52.

Four pilots flew the M2-F2 on its 16 glide flights. They were Milton O. Thompson (5 flights), Bruce Peterson (3 flights), Don Sorlie (3 flights) and Jerry Gentry (5 flights).

NASA pilots and researchers realized the M2-F2 had lateral control problems, even though it had a stability augmentation control system. When the M2-F2 was rebuilt at Dryden and redesignated the M2-F3, it was modified with an additional third vertical fin -- centered between the tip fins to improve control characteristics.

The M2-F2/F3 was the first of the heavy-weight, entry-configuration lifting bodies. Its successful development as a research test vehicle answered many of the generic questions about these vehicles.

M2-F2 flights

NASA M2-F2 - NASA 803, 16 unpowered flights

Specifications (M2-F2)

General characteristics

Crew: one, pilot
Length: 22 ft 2 in (6.76 m)
Wingspan: 9 ft 8 in (2.94 m)
Height: 9 ft 6 in (2.89 m)
Wing area: 160 ft (14.9 m)
Empty weight: 4,620 lb (2,095 kg)
Loaded weight: 6,000 lb (2,722 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 7,485 lb (3,395 kg)
Powerplant: 1x Reaction Motors Upgraded XLR-11 four-chamber rocket engine, 8,000 lbf (36 kN)


Maximum speed: Mach 0.707 (466 mph, 750 km/h)
Range: 8.6 nm (10 mi, 16 km)
Service ceiling: 45,000 ft (13,700 m)
Wing loading: 43.2 lb/ft (196 kg/m)
Thrust/weight: 1.3

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Source: WikiPedia

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