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Thunderbird 2 is International Rescue's heavy-equipment transporter, used primarily for missions dealing specifically within the Earth's atmosphere.

It is the transport vehicle for several smaller rescue vehicles held in pods, although its capacity for heavy lifting makes it useful in its own right during many rescues.

The craft's main pilot is Virgil Tracy, who is often accompanied by various back-up crew members including Gordon, Alan, Brains, and even John.

TB2 appears in all but one episode (The Impostors) of the Thunderbirds TV series, and both feature films - making it one of the most iconic Thunderbirds machines of all.

Structure

TB 2 is comprised of two parts: a framed superstructure, and a cargo pod. The frame incorporates the cockpit, wings, and fuel tank near the vehicle's front, and at the rear the engines and the tailplane, which serves to aid lift and stability.

Its middle, however, is hollow. Two stilts are located each at the front and back of the craft to hydraulically lift TB2 upward, allowing it to receive one of six pods - each equipped with its own undercarriage - available for different types of rescue scenarios. Once the pod of choice locks into position, TB2 is ready to depart for the danger zone. The craft is, however, completely capable of vertical takeoff and landing without the pod, but has less integrity this way.

Size Comparisons

Specifications

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  • Cruising speed: 2,000 mph
  • Engines: 2 variable-cycle gas turbine engines operating as turbo fans at low speed and supersonic combustion ram jets at high speed; 12 variable-cycle turbo-ram cruise / trim jets in tailplane; 4 vertical take-off turbo fan jets in main body; 4 vertical take-off chemical rockets in landing legs
  • Height: 60 feet
  • Height (with pod lowered): 110 feet
  • Length: 250 feet
  • Maximum altitude attained: 100,000 feet
  • Maximum speed: 5,000 mph
  • Payload: up to 100 tons
  • Power source: atomic fusion reactor
  • Range: unlimited
  • Weight (without payload): 406 tons
  • Wingspan: 180 feet

Flight Deck

Radio Camera

From aboard Thunderbird 1, Scott is able to photograph objects in a flypast and send them by radio waves to Thunderbird 2, where a Radio Camera Receiver can print out the pictures. This was used to good effect in Lord Parker's 'Oliday when Brains needed a closer look at the damaged solar generator.

Flight Deck After Modification

At some point, TB2's fight deck underwent a refit; the main difference was that the steering column was changed to a steering wheel, similar to what you would find in a car.

Launch Sequence

Main article: Thunderbird 2/Launch Sequence

Pod Vehicles

Main article: Pod Vehicles

Equipment & Gadgets

Main article: Thunderbird 2/Equipment Deck
  • Four observation cameras: two port side and two starboard side
  • Overhead missile-launcher.

Appearances

TB2 appears in all but one episode (The Impostors) of the TV series, and in both feature films (Thunderbirds Are Go and Thunderbird 6) - and is almost invariably in the thick of the action, due to its many specialized capabilities.

Missions

Main article: Thunderbird 2/Missions

Cutaway Drawings

Main article: History of the Cutaway Drawings (Classic Thunderbirds)

Thunderbird 2 has appeared in no less then twenty different publications - but in only four basic designs, three of which are illustrated by Graham Bleathman.

The Models of Thunderbird 2

Main article: The Models of Thunderbird 2

Construction Kits of Thunderbird 2

Main article: Construction Kits of Thunderbird 2

Trivia

The position of the extendable legs when on a mission.

  • Electromagnetic Pod Grabs are stored in Pod 2.
  • TB2's extendible legs are in different positions when on a mission than when in its hangar. If they were in the "mission" position in the hangar, they'd be too close together to allow the pods to pass below the aircraft.
  • The font-size of the word "Thunderbird 2" written on the side of the front section often changes dramatically between shots. This is most noticeable during the launch sequence: when TB2 leaves the ramp, the "2" is the same size as the word "Thunderbird" (both are barely legible); in the very next shot, the "2" has grown to double its original size and dwarfs the word "Thunderbird".
  • TB 2's retros are situated underneath the nose, forward of the Pod. They were only used once - in the cable-car rescue in The Cham-Cham.
  • When Parker appeared on BBC1's The One Show in 2014, he said that the National Physics Laboratory wrote to Gerry Anderson saying that they thought something like Thunderbird 2 was aeronautically impossible in real life.
  • After narrowly escaping destruction during crash-dives in the episodes Terror in New York City and Ricochet, the original Thunderbird 2 is ultimately destroyed (as is the original Thunderbird 3) by The Hood's henchmen in the TV21 comic, Brains Is Dead. Even the new TB2 is destroyed later in another TV21 comic, The Zoo Ship, when an attempt to fly TB2 by remote control backfires causing it to crash and blow to pieces on its runway.
  • In one of the early draft designs TB2 was going to be blue.
  • A slight error exists in the opening credits of the TV series: When Virgil is displayed on-screen, TB2 can be seen to be on the ground with its legs fully extended, yet the pod is held in place. This would not normally be possible, due to the weight of the pod itself, and its contents.

Behind the Scenes...

  • The legs of TB 2 were made of brass. When the model of the main fuselage was lifted onto its telescopic legs, leaving its pod on the ground, the structure sometimes weakened - resulting in the front section of the craft breaking away.
  • A behind-the-scenes photo shows that TB2's grabs used to pick up the Seascape Drilling Rig diving sphere (in Atlantic Inferno) were actually held by a crewman, pulling it up.
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