Well, not the truck itself but an U.S. Air Force NF-100D Super Sabre in the year 1958. With an experimental Astrodyne XM-34 solid-fuel rocket booster providing an extra 132,000 pounds of thrust courtesy of Project ZeLL (Zero Length Launch). The system later went operational with a 150,ooo pounds of thrust.
The F-100 replaced the perhaps better known F-86, and served the Air Force from 1954 to 1971. But why develop the rocket assist? Simple: in the event of the loss of the runway. By 1958 it was becoming an even more dangerous situation in Europe with Soviet tanks and fighters out-numbering those of NATO. Cruder, but far more numerous. And if an airbase was heavily damaged, or lost, the fighters would be unable to launch. Just as importantly, some models of the F-100 were fighter-bombers, with the capability to deliver a nuclear bomb.
Read more here: http://www.thexhunters.com/xpeditions/f-100d.html on the terrific X-Hunters website.
Our new section “Flight“ documents some of the flights we’ve taken in classic warbirds, visits to air museums, and related topics of interest. We’ve started the new section with our very first flight in a restored B-17.
Why a section on flying in a “driving enthusiast” website? Because we’ve continually run into many people in the car hobby who – if they could only afford a plane – would leave the car hobby behind. Sorry to say, but the basic feelings of movement and freedom are one and the same. Except that flight is just more so.
We feel that way ourselves, but having no time whatsoever for flight lessons our main interest centers around warbirds. Importantly we feel strongly that they should be preserved and shown so that we can remember the men and women who fought in them for our freedoms, and sometimes paid the ultimate price. To that end, we are strong supports of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) , The Collins Foundation, the Commemorative Air Force, and similar groups dedicated to preservation of this important history.
Enjoy the new section, and look for additional posts in the future as we ramp up to speed.
Most driving enthusiasts we know would gladly become plane enthusiasts too – if only given the time and resources. Unfortunately, most don’t have the time needed to get a private pilot’s license, and the great majority don’t have the resources to then continue on to airplane ownership. If you think your collection of street cars and your race car is expensive, it’s nothing compared to the expense of buying, owning, and maintaining a plane. So 99% of us remain enthusiasts of planes and flying… and that’s as far as it goes. This is why we see car enthusiasts writing about planes in their blogs.
Similarities between the hobbies abound. Like the car hobby, there are planes that none of us will ever even touch… much less (under the rarest of circumstances) get to stand at a distance and watch. One example is the U-2. A tiny percentage of us might see one at an air base or a museum, and you’re completely unlikely to ever get a chance to talk to anyone who has flown in one. Fortunately James May of Top Gear gets an opportunity for a flight and shares his experiences with us:
And there are home-built planes, which can take years to build before the first test flight. If you’ve spent years restoring a car or building a kit Cobra, then you have an idea of the patience (and skills) required to build a simple kit plane. But unlike cars there are ”ultimate” kit planes. You can’t design and build a Ferrari 458 Italia or Zonda R, but you can build your own high performance jet:
And this is where cubic dollars start getting spent. Also note that pilot training is extensive, expensive and requires a personal discipline that 99% of the general population doesn’t have. That is another parallel to the car hobby… most people don’t have the personal discipline to excel on the race track. We’re not talking about a lead-and-follow car club event, we’re talking about full speed wide-open track, with other cars anywhere from inches to feet away from you. Where someone else’s health or even life is in your hands. We’ve been at that for 30 years and have had a great time on tracks around the country. If we added up what we’ve spent over 30 years and compared it to the price of a good plane… well, we don’t want to think about that.