ZERO TAKE-OFF AND MAT LANDING F-84 TESTS

The zero-launch -- ZEL -- tests were undertaken with several types of aircraft in the US, and Russia also undertook similar tests. Generally, these tests worked well insofar as the launch procedures. However, the US attempted to add zero-land ability, using arresting cable, arresting hooks, and a cushioned mat, the intent being to recover an aircraft in a very short landing space. This "MAL" part of the ZELMAL experiments were beyond bizaar, and almost without exception, unsuccessful at the least, but in reality, hazerdous to the health and well being of the test pilots.

The ZEL launches were done with, among others, F-84E and G Thunderjets, F-100 Super Sabres, and F-104 Starfighteres. The mat landings were attempted only three times with the F-84s, and two of those resulted in minor to severe injuries to the pilots. Perhaps it would have been good to reach ahead in time and hire some 1990's era stunt men to develop the landing mat. One can dream. In any case, the idea for mat landings was quicly abandoned, no doubt to the great relief of potential test pilots, while the zero-launch was successfully carried out over several years, but never operationally implemented.


Air Force Flight Test Center photos courtesy of David Newman.

Go to page about this photo Go to page about this photo Go to page about this photo

Zero-length launch of F-84G 51-1225

Zero-length launch of F-84G 51-1225

Zero-length launch of F-84E 51-867




Go to page about this photo Go to page about this photo Go to page about this photo

Zero-length launch of F-84E 51-867

F-84E 51-867 in flight seconds after zero-length launch

F-84E 51-634 during mat landing


Next Page

Contents Copyright 1997-2001 Bruce Craig -- All Rights Reserved
478