Really happy to share with you my last build, the M2F1 lifting body. Special thanks to my friend Seb who work on the project for the 3D printind parts.
Take care !!!
A little history on this amazing airplane that will give birth to the Space Shuttle! The M2-F1 is the precursor of a series of the most incredible devices ever developed from 1963 to 1975 by NASA: the lifting bodies . This concept of Lifting Body begins to be developed in 1950 and more seriously in 1961 during the period of space conquest. The capsules are used only once and they are very expensive. Engineers then think of a concept of reusable device, which will have to be piloted. But to resist re-entry into the atmosphere this machine will have to withstand extremely high temperatures and therefore its shape will have to be very round and of low lift, unlike a conventional device !! Fascinated by this new concept, a Nasa engineer, Dale Reed, who then worked as an aerodynamicist on the X15 program, on the measures of resistance of materials and overheating, decided to embark on the study of this project. He found a lot of skepticism at Nasa and worked with a very small team. He tests at home flying models in paper then in balsa which he throws by hand or makes fly like a kite. The refined design he films his reduced model and will present his film to the boss of Nasa Paul Bikle. He is interested and gives him $ 30,000 and puts the wind tunnel at his disposal for aerodynamic tests! not much to say! Dale Reed will therefore have to convince engineers to work on his concept outside of NASA working hours and find a way to build a device at very low cost and fly it without an engine !! With the $ 30,000 Dale Reed will build the M2-F1 by a glider manufacturer close to Edwards. To make it fly he buys a Pontiac Catalina which he will have boosted by the local garage owner to tow the M2-F1 !! Finally he finds a test pilot fascinated by the project, Milton "Milt" Thompson. Testing of the M2-F1 begins in March 1963 towed by the Pontiac. It will thus make nearly 400 flights proving that the M2-F1 flies and can fly. NASA then loaned a C47 to tow the M2-F1 like a glider. The real tests can then begin and several test pilots will pilot it including C. Yeager. The concept will thus be definitively validated by NASA and will give rise thereafter to the series of M2-F2, M2-F3, HL-10, X24A and X24B, then the series of X-33, X-36, X-38 and finally to the space shuttle! To find out more, I recommend the books by Dale Reed: Wingless Flight and Milt Thompson: Flying without wings. The M2F2 crash with pilot Bruce Peterson will give Hollywood studios the idea of The Six Million Dollar Man serie.