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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
Gordon Tracy (Co-pilot)
Appearances: List of Appearances

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.

The legs of Thunderbird 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.


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.

Size Comparisons


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

Flight Deck

Launch Sequence

Main article: Thunderbird 2/Launch Sequence

Pod Vehicles

Main article: Pod machines

Equipment & Gadgets

Main article: Thunderbird 2/Equipment Deck
  • Four observation cameras; two port side and two starboard side and an over head missile launcher.


Thunderbird 2 has made an appearance in all but one episode (The Impostors), and also appeared 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.

Thunderbird 2's Missions

Main article: Thunderbird 2/Missions



The position of the extendable legs when on a mission.

  • Electromagnetic Pod Grabs are stored in Pod 2.
  • Thunderbird 2'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 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".
  • Thunderbird 2's retros are situated underneath the nose, right in front 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 by The Hood's henchmen in the TV21 comic, Brains Is Dead. The Hood's henchmen also destroy the original Thunderbird 3 in the same story. Even the new Thunderbird 2 is destroyed later in another TV21 comic, The Zoo Ship when an attempt to fly Thunderbird 2 by remote control backfires causing Thunderbird 2 to crash and blow to pieces on its runway.

Behind the Scenes

A behind-the-scenes photo shows 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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