Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

The Digression Podcast

Chris and Jody are Air Force vets who enjoy military history and folklore. This is their podcast. They tell stories. They digress. A lot.

Mar 31, 2023

If you grew up in the 1970s, you probably know Colonel Steve Austin. He was an astronaut and test pilot who became the world's first bionic man after a horrific plane crash. Steve Austin was fictional, but that plane crash was real...and so was the pilot; his name was Bruce Peterson.

Bruce Peterson was a renowned test pilot who made significant contributions to the aviation and aerospace industry. One of his notable achievements was his involvement in developing and testing the M2-F2 lifting body aircraft.

The M2-F2 aircraft was a prototype design for a space shuttle developed in the 1960s. It was a hybrid aircraft that combined features of both airplanes and rockets. The M2-F2 aircraft was designed to fly back to Earth after a space mission, re-enter the atmosphere, and land like a conventional airplane.

Peterson was one of the test pilots who flew the M2-F2 aircraft during its development and testing phase. In May 1967, Peterson experienced a serious crash in the M2-F2 aircraft that nearly cost him his life. During a test flight, the aircraft encountered turbulence, which caused it to roll over and dive into the ground. 

Peterson's crash inspired author Martin Caiden to write the book, "Cyborg," about a test pilot, Colonel Steve Austin, who lost both his legs, an arm, and an eye in a plane crash. The book was made into a TV movie and subsequent series, "The Six Million Dollar Man."  

Show notes at

Sound Off! With a comment or a question at

Like the show? Leave a 5-star rating and review:

Help us keep the engine running at

Or just share our podcast with a friend! It's the best way to grow the show!!


The Beginning of The Real “Six Million Dollar Man”: The M2-F2 Crash.

Cyborg by Martin Caiden

The Six Million Dollar Man on IMDB