Thunderbird 2 is a large, supersonic, VTOL freight carrying aircraft. Like the rest of the Thunderbirds, it was created by Brains and is owned by International Rescue. Thunderbird 2 is used in earth-based rescue missions, usually alongside the much faster Thunderbird 1, compared to which it is significantly slower, but has far greater functionality. Thunderbird 2 is a long range craft, capable of travelling anywhere in the world without the need to refuel. Thunderbird 2 has a maximum altitude of 100,000 feet.
The great freighter is piloted by Virgil Tracy, who is often accompanied by his younger brother Gordon, and occasionally Alan. Scott also travelled inside Thunderbird 2 in Chain Of Command, it is shown that he is also capable of co-piloting the craft. In Signals Part 1 and Signals Part 2, Lady Penelope co-piloted, as Gordon was injured, Scott was piloting Thunderbird 4, and Alan and Kayo were in space.
Thunderbird 2 has twice been shown operating in environments it was not designed for; in both cases, it was a last resort and eventually proved to be a bad idea. It was shown going into space (with special modifications) in Long Haul; this attempt almost failed, and Thunderbird 2 would have burned up on reentry had it not been for the ideas by its passenger. It was later shown operating underwater in Signals Part 2 with improvised modifications, but Virgil had to prevent the craft from flooding, and the engines were eventually waterlogged, forcing Lady Penelope to activate the Remote Airbag Pods to return Thunderbird 2 to the surface. In Upside Down Thunderbird 2 is once again forced to be used underwater after a stubborn captain, refuses to abandon ship.
- 1 Design
- 2 Specifications
- 3 Cockpit
- 4 Co-pilots
- 5 The 6 Modules
- 6 Equipment
- 7 Missions
- 8 Launch Sequence
- 9 Gallery
- 10 Concept Art
- 11 Trivia
TB2 is a giant, wide-body, green coloured, somewhat blocky plane with small forward-swept wings, a massive rear spoiler and large rectangular engine intakes on either side. Despite its bulky appearance and the slowest of all 4 flight-capable Thunderbirds, the two rearward engines are powerful enough to allow it to fly at supersonic speeds nonetheless. TB2 is capable of vertical take-off and landing through the use of 4 large jets tucked underneath the craft's sides, close to the intakes. The VTOL jets can tilt forwards and backwards for slow and steady flights in all directions, and are powerful enough to let TB2 lift extremely heavy objects and vehicles, having once picked up TB1 with no apparent difficulty. The wings can fold upwards when not in use, allowing for easier landings. Two means of entrance and exit can be found at the crafts front end; a manually operated hatch on top, and a platform that can be automatically lowered underneath, and both lead straight to the cockpit.
TB2 is designed as a freighter in mind, with the middle of the craft hollowed to carry one of the many modular containers carrying gear for different kinds of rescue missions. As such, it is often regarded as the 'main' Thunderbird for land and sea-based rescue missions, seen being sortied out on almost every single rescue mission that doesn't involve going to space.
One key mission ("Long Haul") saw TB2 being adapted to go into space to assist in a rescue mission on a satellite, as Thunderbird 3 was currently occupied pumping oxygen to a trapped member of the crew and couldn't be diverted to collect the necessary equipment to repair the satellite. On a later occasion ("Signals Part 2"), Virgil and Lady Penelope were able to make improvised modifications to TB2 in the field so that it could go underwater when Scott was trying to retrieve a key escape pod in Thunderbird 4.
- Height: 31 feet
- Height with pod lowered: 57 feet
- Length: 112 feet
- Wingspan: 82 feet
- Wingspan with wings folded in: 56 feet
- Maximum speed: 5,000 mph
- Payload: 100 tons
- Body weight: 406 tons
Thunderbird 2's co-pilot seat allows the craft to be piloted by someone sitting on the right. As Virgil is often seen onsite himself, other family members - Scott, Gordon, Alan and Grandma Tracy - have served as co-pilots, and even Lady Penelope took on this role when all other members of the organisation were busy or incapacitated.
The 6 Modules
The middle of TB2 is completely hollow, a space to be filled in by one of six cargo carrying modules carrying different types of gear. The contents can be deployed when TB2 has landed after four telescopic legs located near the VTOL jets have extended, lifting up the entire craft while leaving the module on the ground, whereupon their drawbridge-like doors can open. The underside of the modules can also be opened, mostly when TB2 is required to launch its electromagnetic cables while still having the modules attached, or simply to drop any equipment or vehicle stored inside, most of the time being pods in flight-capable configurations, while TB2 is airborne. The underside of the modules have wheels, which is hardly visible most of the time, attached, allowing TB2 to seemingly slide along its designated runway in Tracy Island.
Module 1 specializes in carrying fire-fighting equipment. It is shown to include a pair of extinguisher nozzles which can be deployed on the underside, and a low-frequency fire suppression system on the topside, which are essentially speakers and subwoofers, thus oddly enabling the fire fighting equipment to play music.
The most commonly used Module, which is fitting, as it shares the same number as Thunderbird 2. It is a general use module without any specialisation, carrying the Pods, which are two durable chassis that can be outfitted into various kinds of smaller rescue vehicles using a variety of attachments. The attachments are kept in metallic crates stored on the walls of Module 2, and are brought down and attached into the body of the Pod via robotic arms.
Module 2 also has, in between the two bay doors, a pair of electromagnetic cables. They are designed to point down and be used once the first door opens.
Home of the large electromagnetic grabs. The grabs are used to lift up and move the largest and heaviest of objects. The tips of the 4 fingers are electromagnetic, which allowed them to rip off a roof in The Hexpert. A row of seats stored on Module 3 are able to be picked up by the grabs and lowered, in order to collect people.
Module 3 has also carried the RAD, and it was able to carry Thunderbird 1 using four electromagnetic cables between the two layers of bay doors, like Module 2.
Designed specifically for aquatic rescue missions and carrying Thunderbird 4, which can exit once the door of the Module opens via a metallic slide that extends out in a telescopic manner. The module is the only one shown so far to float on water; a feature not known currently to be unique to Module 4 or shared among all modules. Thunderbird 4 is retrieved through the use of a magnetic cable behind the slide that shoots out to hit the rear of the sub and carry it back up. Like Module 2, Module 4 also has bay doors, allowing Thunderbird 4 to be gently lowered down by the magnetic cable, which was seen in Heavy Metal. The module is also equipped with the Remote Airbag Pods, which were used in Heist Society. It is equipped with a shower room for TB2's occupants, mainly Gordon, to freshen up; yet another feature not known to be unique to Module 4 or shared by all Modules. It is also capable of carrying any additional Pods that are needed as well when the situation requires it as seen in Power Play. Like Module 3, it consists of large electromagnetic grabs, as seen in Signals Part 2 as well as a Row of Seats to collect people as seen in Falling Skies.
Module 5 is made specifically for carrying fuel for other vehicles and vessels. A fuel line can be extended when the underside bay doors open, allowing refuelling for or pumping out of other vessels and vehicles. As expected, the capacity is very limited. The equipment can also be used to store and supply other liquids such as a concrete sealant. The module, just like modules 3 and 4, also contains seats that can be lowered to collect people.
Like Module 4, Module 6 is capable of carrying Thunderbird 4, but it is used in rare occasions of Thunderbird 2 having to travel into space.
The Jaws of Life
- Main article: Jaws Of Life
Thunderbird 2 has four electromagnetic cables. They end with circular clamps and can be fired down at high speed. However, since they are all located within the hollow area for the Modules, they can only be used when the Module is detached, and they therefore provide the additional job of recollecting a dropped module while the ship is airborne, which is how Module 4 is retrieved while floating in water, or at times, partially deploy the Modules, allowing the front bay door to be opened without having to drop the Module out entirely. The cables have an unspecified, but incredible length, and Thunderbird 2 can use them to lift 100 tons worth of weight.
Like the set that are stored in Module 3, Thunderbird 2 also has another set of grabs stored in its nosecone. They are the same design as the ones in Module 3. They even have their own row of seats to pick up and drop off people with.
Four grappling hooks are outfitted on the walls of the module compartment, which can only be deployed when Thunderbird 2 has deployed its module. It is only seen use once so far, in Grandma Tourismo, to anchor Thunderbird 2 to the ground to prevent it from being blown over by a Category 13 sandstorm.
A laser is located at the front of Thunderbird 2. It has been seen cutting a chunk of a atmospheric cleaning machine, allowing Thunderbird 1 to go inside.
A retractable launcher of sorts housed in a compartment below the cockpit and in front of the module. It is shown to be capable of launching magnetic clamps, fire retardant grenades, avalanche sensors, and releasing droplets of water to create clouds.
- Main article: /Missions
Virgil stands with his back against the painting of the Saturn V, which tips him almost upside down and straps him into a special harness (with his IR garb above him), and the harness takes him at high speed down the tube to TB2 via a rail. The IR garb is put onto him, and the harness is rotated upside down. The tunnel extends to over TB2's top entry door, and Virgil grabs the handlebars at the end of the rail, releasing him from the harness and dropping him into the cockpit.
Virgil then closes the big round door himself manually and puts himself in the pilot's chair. The modules pass under TB2, until Virgil gets the correct one, and TB2 sinks over it and it is raised up, until the two become one. Any passengers that are needed for the mission are raised up into the cockpit from the bottom hatch when this process is completed.
The rock covering the entrance to the hangar opens like a drawbridge. Thunderbird 2 then rotates around, and begins to taxi out. The palm trees lining the runway lift out of the way (widening the runway), until TB2 gets to the end of the runway. The launching ramp lifts TB2 into the correct launch angle and the wings fold down into the flight setting. The blast pit opens, the engines ignite and TB2 launches.
- Thunderbird 2 is the very-first Thunderbird machine to be introduced in this revival series, having made its debut within the opening sequence of the pilot episode, Ring of Fire Part 1.
- Thunderbird 2 is currently the aircraft that most of the Tracy household has piloted in one occasion or the other, serving as the main plot device telling the audience that members of the International Rescue are indeed capable of piloting each other's crafts.
- Contrary to the seating plan in most multi-crew aircraft, Virgil sits in the right seat in the cockpit of Thunderbird 2, whereas the captain of a multi-crew aircraft typically sits in the left seat. This same seating situation is also present in Thunderbird 3.