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The Thunderbirds are the six main machines of International Rescue. Each one is specially designed to fill a certain requirement in the organisation's operations and has a dedicated pilot from among the sons of Jeff Tracy and the inhabitants of Tracy Island, including Brains and Tin-Tin.

The Machines

Thunderbird 1

  • Thunderbird 1 is piloted by Scott Tracy. It is a hypersonic, atomic-powered rocket plane with retractable wings for travel at slower speeds within the atmosphere. Its purpose is to carry its pilot to the danger zone in as short a time as possible to assess the situation and establish a control centre for directing the rescue. Its launchpad is located under the retractable swimming pool in front of the Tracy Villa, and is accessed by a revolving panel in the lounge with two light brackets.

Thunderbird 2

  • Thunderbird 2 is piloted by Virgil Tracy. It is a supersonic freight plane with a huge carrying capacity. Thunderbird 2 is the workhorse of International Rescue, generally used to transport any heavy equipment, along with the extra personnel, that may be needed to carry out the rescue. It is launched from behind an opening fake rock face, under the Cliff House; the palm trees fall backwards to accommodate its wingspan as it taxis out down the runway, before being lifted into launching position by a tilting platform. Its hangar is accessed from a tilting panel disguised as a painting of a Saturn V space rocket.

Thunderbird 3

  • Thunderbird 3 is piloted by Alan Tracy and John in monthly shifts, usually joined by Scott and Tin-Tin. It is a one-stage space rocket. Its main use is to transport replacement crews to Thunderbird 5, although it proves invaluable in performing any rescue missions that need to be conducted outside of Earth's atmosphere. It blasts off from within the Round House, and is accessed by a couch that takes the crew to its silo.

Thunderbird 4

  • Thunderbird 4 is piloted by Gordon Tracy. It is a small, short-range submarine that needs to be transported by other craft to the danger zone, primarily in Pod 4 of Thunderbird 2. Its multiple tools grant its great flexibility in effecting rescues in aquatic environments. If Thunderbird 2 is out of action for whatever reason, it can be launched out of a hole in the fake rock face, flying down the full length of the runway and into the sea.

Thunderbird 5

  • Thunderbird 5 is piloted by John Tracy and Alan in monthly shifts. It is a manned space station in orbit of the Earth, containing the sensitive detection equipment that allows International Rescue to pick up any requests for help transmitted from anywhere on Earth. It is in permanent geostationary orbit above Tracy Island, and Thunderbird 3 docks by going nose-in to the superstructure.

Thunderbird 6

  • Thunderbird 6 is a vintage Tiger Moth biplane owned by Alan, but is mainly piloted by Brains and is improvised as a rescue vehicle. Although it is technologically inferior to the other Thunderbirds, it is still used in situations when the other craft are not suitable for the rescue.

2015 Reboot

Thunderbird Shadow is the little-known stealth craft of the International Rescue fleet in the 2015 reboot of the show. It is piloted by Kayo. It is launched from a revolving fake rock panel on the mountain. It contains two capture arms and a launching motorbike. In relation to the original fleet, it is likely a hybrid of both Thunderbird 6 and the Ladybird Jet owned by Tin-Tin.



  • In the 1970's, Japanese company Imai marketed a model kit called Thunderbird 7. It was an amphibious mobile rocket launcher carried in Thunderbird 2.
  • The Japanese anime Thunderbirds 2086 featured seventeen different Thunderbirds.