Strange Planes (1990): S01E02 – Parasites


Technology Documentary hosted by Luke Swann, published by Discovery Channel broadcasted as part of DC Wings series in 1990.


From the launching and retrieving of planes by dirigibles in the early 1900s to piggy-backing and today’s space shuttle.

Piggybacking one plane on another is not an impossible ambition, as shown by the success of the Space Shuttle. However this episode documents that the pursuit of this ambition has been long and challenging.
Nicknamed for their ability to hitch a ride, parasites represent enormous technological breakthroughs.

Used for everything from faster mail service to extra escorts, parasites have evolved. Being able to ride on a mother craft extended these planes’ potential.

In the beginning, Curtis fighters hid inside dirigibles. Later, parasite aircraft launched out of giant bombers to protect the plane. Now, the space shuttle itself counts as a parasite.
Strange Planes offers a detailed history of these life-saving inventions.

Strange Planes Series

You can find a full index and overview of Strange Planes here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date: 1990.
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Running Time: 46-54 minutes (per episode).
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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