TIP TOW F-84D TESTS

One of the more interesting experiments undertaken to extend the range of the early jets in order to give fighter protection to the piston engineed bombers, was the provision for in-flight attachment/detachment of fighter to bomber via wingtip connections. One of the several programs during these experiments was done with a B-29 mother ship and two F-84D "children", and was code named "Tip Tow." A number of flights were undertaken, with several successful cycles of attachment and detachment, using, first one, and then two F-84s. The pilots of the F-84s maintained manual control when attached, with roll axis maintained by elevator movement rather than aileron movement. Engines on the F-84s were shut down in order to save fuel during the "tow" by the mother ship, and in-flight engine restarts were successfully accomplished. The experiment ended in disaster during the first attempt to provide automatic flight control of the F-84s, when the electronics apparently malfunctioned. The left hand F-84 rolled onto the wing of the B-29, and the connected aircraft both crashed with loss of all onboard personnel.

The pilot of the right-hand F-84D, Major Clarence E. "Bud" Anderson wrote of the Tip-Tow experiments in an article entitled Aircraft Wingtip Coupling Experiments published by the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. The Society has courteously provided a copy of that article, and it is reproduced on this site with their permission.


For additional information, see the book Republic F-84, A Photo Chronicle by David McLaren, which has some photos and discussion about the Tip Tow tests, and also, C.E. "Bud" Anderson's web site.

The photos below are of my 1/48th scale Tip Tow model.


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F-84D 48-661.

F-84D 48-641.



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Tip Tow Model.

Tip Tow Model.


Contents Copyright 1997-2000 Bruce Craig -- All Rights Reserved
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