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Thunderbird 2

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Equipment & Vehicles
Thunderbird 2
Type: Heavy-Duty Equipment Transporter
Affiliation: International Rescue
Main Operator: Virgil Tracy
Thunderbird 2 is International Rescue's heavy equipment transporter, used primarily for missions dealing specifically with 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 sometimes accompanied by some back-up crew members including Gordon, Alan, Brains, and even John.

It appears in all but one episode of the Thunderbirds TV series, (The Impostors being the only exception) as well as every movie, making it one of the most iconic machines of the franchise.


Thunderbird 2 is comprised of two parts: a framed superstructure and a pod. Thunderbird 2's frame incorporates the cockpit, wings, and fuel tank near the vehicle's front, and at the rear the engines and the spoiler, which serves to aid lift and stability. Two stilts are located each at the front and back of the craft to hydraulically lift the craft upward, allowing for the clearing of the pod. Its middle is hollow, to fully accommodate one of the six (total) pods that is required for the mission. Each pod is equipped with undercarriage for a smooth landing for the ship, and contains a huge capacity for storing the rescue vehicle that is needed. The craft is, however, completely capable of vertical takeoff and landing without the pod, but has less integrity this way.


Cruising Speed: 2,000 mph
Height (without pod lowered): 60 feet
Height (with pod lowered): 110 feet
Length: 250 feet
Maximum Operating Altitude: 100,000 feet
Maximum Payload: 100 tons
Maximum Speed: initially 5,000 mph; later increased to 12,000 mph
Power Source: Atomic fusion reactor
Range: Unlimited
Weight: 406 tons
Wingspan: 180 feet

Launch SequenceEdit

Main article: Thunderbird 2 - Launch Sequence

Pod VehiclesEdit

Main article: Pod machines

Equipment / GadgetsEdit

Main article: Equipment Deck - Thunderbird 2
  • Four observation cameras; two port side and two starboard side


Thunderbird 2 has made an appearance in all but one episode (The Impostors), even appearing extensively in both feature films.

Its main use in the series is to transport the specialized equipment required to effect a rescue to the danger zone. It often plays a more direct role in rescues due to its heavy lifting capacity and great versatility.

In Terror In New York City, Thunderbird 2 is attacked by the U.S. Navy whilst returning to base, putting the aircraft out of action for several weeks. While repairs are being undertaken, two reporters are trapped beneath the ruins of the Empire State Building. Rescuing them would normally be no trouble with Thunderbird 2's equipment, but more unorthodox methods must be used instead.

In Edge Of Impact, Thunderbird 2 transports the Thunderizer in Pod 3 to fire a rescue pack up into a tower to rescue two men, Jim and Stan.

In Day Of Disaster, Thunderbird 2 is used to clear away the rubble surrounding the sunken Martian Space Probe, allowing Thunderbird 4 to seperate the manned nose cone from the live rocket. Thunderbird 2 then lifts the nose cone to safety.

In End Of The Road, Thunderbird 2 utilises its magnetic clamps to carry Eddie Houseman's truck off of the mountain precipice. Unfortunately, the truck proves too heavy for the clamps, but Eddie manages to jump clear before it falls to destruction.

In Operation Crash Dive, Thunderbird 2 flies close below Fireflash, allowing Gordon to ascend into the fuselage / landing gear by an air-to-air unkt to try and figure out the cause of the problems when he finds a saboteur has disconnected the EPU. The saboteur isn't listening to reason so Gordon has no choice but to shoot him so he falls out the open hatch and into the ocean. Gordon manages to connect the EPU at the last second when Fireflash is about to crash'dive into the ocean.

In Brink Of Disaster, Thunderbird 2 again uses its magnetic clamps to carry away the central carriage of the crashed Pacific-Atlantic Monotrain containing Jeff Tracy, Tin-Tin, and Brains before the bridge bearing it collapses under the train's immense weight.

In Attack Of The Alligators!, Gordon and Alan use the underside mounted machine cannons housed in Thunderbird 2's equipment deck to fire tranquiliser darts that knock out the giant alligators.

In The Cham-Cham, Parker attaches a cable from Thunderbird 2 to the falling cable car, allowing Virgil to safely slow it down before it crashes.

In Security Hazard, Chip sneaks into Thunderbird 2's pod and is taken back to Tracy Island, creating a breach of security.

In Alias Mr Hackenbacker, Thunderbird 2 fires a non-explosive missile that jams Skythrust's landing gear in place, putting a stop to the hijackers' plans to land the plane at a remote airbase in the Sahara Desert.

In Lord Parker's 'Oliday, Thunderbird 2's lifting power is put to the test when it must shift an enormous reflector from the bottom of a mountain.

In Ricochet, Thunderbird 2 must prevent a falling satellite from hitting a massive oil refinery. Although Brains - believing it to still be manned - cannot bring himself to shoot it out of the sky, Thunderbird 2 lifts the satellite past the refinery with its starboard wing.



The position of the extendable legs when on a mission.

  • Little known fact: Electromagnetic Pod Grabs are stored in Pod 2.
  • Thunderbird 2's extendable 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 would be too close together to allow the pods to pass below the aircraft.
  • The font 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 Thunderbird 2 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".
  • 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.

Behind the ScenesEdit

A behind-the-scenes photo showing that Thunderbird 2's grabs used to pick up the Seascape Drilling Rig diving sphere were actually held by a crewman pulling it up (N/A / Filming Atlantic Inferno).


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