22 Oct 2013

U.S. Navy MD-1 Flight Deck Tractor Model

MD-1 flight deck tractors entered service with the U.S. Navy in the mid 1950s. Apart from the aircraft towing and positioning, they were employed to start up aircraft jet engines. For this purpose many were fitted with gas turbine start units mounted on the platform in the rear. MD-1 tractors served on Essex / Oriskany class, Midway class and Forrestal / Kitty Hawk class carriers of the U.S. Navy until mid 1960s. They have also been employed on the Royal Canadian Navy's HMCS Bonaventure and on the Brazilian Navy's Minas Gerais carriers.

This 1:72 scale model kit is from F4Models (cat. # 7001). The kit contains resin and photo etched parts that allow for several different options: with or without the starter unit; different front grille; arrangement of the ballast weights. Decal and instruction sheet are included.

A model of this tractor will fit nicely into a U.S. Navy carrier deck diorama. In particular, when such aircraft as F3H Demon, F4D Skyray, FJ-4 Fury, F9F-8 Cougar, F11F Tiger, early Skyhawks and Skywarriors were in service, the MD-1 was the only type of shipboard tow tractor.
Here are some photographs of this type of flight deck tractor in action: linklinklinklinklinklinklink.