Gerry Anderson Encyclopedia
Gerry Anderson Encyclopedia

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Thunderbird 1 is International Rescue's primary rapid-response vehicle.

This hypersonic swing-wing craft- part high-performance jet, part high-velocity missile - is piloted by the eldest of the five Tracy brothers, former USAF pilot Scott Tracy.

From aboard TB1, Scott is able to assess the parameters of the danger-zone and frame the nuts-and-bolts of IR's response (usually via cargo-carrying sister craft Thunderbird 2). And TB1 gives him plenty to work with (see below)...

Although TB1's primary mandate is saving life, it is nonetheless capable (should the situation demand it) of defending itself...

With a typical cruising speed of 7,500 mph, TB1 can reach anywhere in the world in little over an hour.

Technical data

  • Type: Hypersonic reconnaissance craft
  • Designer: Brains
  • Built: 2024 or 2063


  • Length: 115 feet
  • Wing span: 80 feet
  • Height: 30 feet
  • Unladen: 150 tons


  • Power source: Atomic fusion reactor
  • Engines: 4 variable-cycle gas turbine engines
  • Booster rockets 1 variable mode engine (for launch), 1 vertical take-off booster, 1 gas turbine hover jet.


  • Max altitude: 150,000 feet
  • Max Speed: Mach 22.6 (15,000 mph)
  • Range: Unlimited

Crew and Accommodation

  • Pilot/Primary Rescue Coordinator: Scott Tracy
  • Relief Pilot/Acting Rescue Coordinator: Alan Tracy
  • Hangar: Tracy Island (under Tracy Villa)
  • Launch Pad: Under Tracy Villa swimming pool
  • Landing: Upright or horizontal

Onboard Equipment

  • Mobile Control Base
  • Sonar scanner
  • Automatic Camera Detector and alarm
  • Remote Surveillance Camera
  • High-Frequency film/videotape deletion
  • Cannon
  • Multi-Spear launcher


TB1 is basically a needle-nosed cylindrical body with a larger-diameter section (the blue "reactor housing") immediately in front of a cruciform (cross-shaped) tail/engine unit, with retractable "swing wings" that are extended at low speeds. With the wings tucked in - making her pretty much a missile to look at - top speed is said to be 15,000 mph.

At the other end of the speed range, TB1 also has the ability to hover for extended periods. The undercarriage is arranged so that she can land in a horizontal attitude, with an unconventional "tail-dragger" layout - consisting of two long, rather spindly main units stored in the wings and a small tail unit that extends from the ventral tail arm.

Perhaps the most notable feature of TB1's enclosed cockpit is the pilot's chair. Thanks to its unique gimballed-mounting, it will automatically shift position in mid-flight, enabling Scott or Alan (or whoever is piloting) to always be sitting upright and facing forward in alignment with the craft. Two sets of pilot-friendly control levers (one on either side of the pilot) regulate steering, altitude and engine-throttle.

Hangar and Launch Bay

While awaiting a distress call, Thunderbird 1 rests in an upright (vertical) position on a launch cradle in a hidden hangar behind one wall of the lounge room of Tracy Island, ready to receive her pilot. Once the pilot has boarded, the cradle and TB1 then proceed down a set of steeply-sloped rails to the launch bay directly under the swimming pool in front of the house. As TB1 descends the "ramp", she remains in an upright position, ready for immediate take-off on reaching the launch position.

Launch Sequence

Main article: Thunderbird 1 Launch Sequence


  • Several highly-detailed cut-away drawings of TB1 have appeared in publications over the years, notably those by artist Graham Bleathman.

Fan Art Gallery


Thunderbird 1 on Thunderbirds Wiki:

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International Rescue: Jeff TracyScott TracyVirgil TracyAlan TracyGordon TracyJohn TracyBrainsTin-Tin KyranoLady Penelope Creighton-WardAloysius Parker
Others: Lucille TracyKyranoGrandma TracyThe Hood

TV Series Episodes:
Season 1
Trapped In The SkyPit of PerilThe Perils Of PenelopeTerror In New York CityEdge Of ImpactDay Of Disaster30 Minutes After NoonDesperate IntruderEnd Of The RoadThe UninvitedSun ProbeOperation Crash-DiveThe Mighty AtomCity of FireThe ImpostorsThe Man From MI.5Cry WolfDanger at Ocean DeepMove - And You're DeadThe Duchess AssignmentBrink Of DisasterAttack of the Alligators!Martian InvasionThe Cham-ChamSecurity Hazard
Season 2
Atlantic InfernoPath of DestructionAlias Mr. HackenbackerLord Parker's 'OlidayRicochetGive Or Take A Million

Thunderbirds Are GoThunderbird 6

Audio Adventures:
Introducing ThunderbirdsF.A.B.The Stately Homes Robberies

Young CorgiThe Vault

Tracy IslandCreighton-Ward Mansion

Thunderbird 1Thunderbird 2 (Pod Vehicles: MoleFireflyDOMOElevator CarsTransmitter TruckRecovery VehiclesMonobrakeExcavatorMobile CraneFire TruckLaser CutterThunderizerNeutralizer TractorJet-Air TransporterFire TenderYellow Trailer Truck | Red and Black TruckRed Curved Vehicle) • Thunderbird 3Thunderbird 4Thunderbird 5Thunderbird 6
Other Craft and Vehicles