Today in History – May 18, 1958 – Super Sabre gets airborne in ZEL “130,000 lb Kick in the Pants” takeoff

18 May 1958 – In a Zero-Length Launch (ZEL) experiment, a U. S. Air Force North American F-100D Super Sabre becomes airborne with no runway or take-off roll at all, using its own engine in afterburner and boosted by a 130,000-pound- (58,967-kg)-thrust Astrodyne rocket.

Zero-Length Launch was a program developed to enable interceptors to be deployed without any runway at all. The program went into production but was scuttled once-reliable missiles took on the role of interception.

Video from,on%20the%20role%20of%20interception.

Source: Wikipedia: Portal:Aviation

Scroll to Top