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."
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Cyborg by Martin Caiden
The Six Million Dollar Man on IMDB