Project Tip Tow: Boeing B-29 with Republic F-84 Thunderjet.
TIP TOW F-84D TESTS
One of the more interesting experiments undertaken to extend the range of the early jets in order to give fighter protection to the piston engineed bombers, was the provision for in-flight attachment/detachment of fighter to bomber via wingtip connections. One of the several programs during these experiments was MX106 done with a B-29 mother ship and two F-84D "children", and was code named "Tip Tow" (not Tom Tom as stated above) A number of flights were undertaken, with several successful cycles of attachment and detachment, using, first one, and then two F-84s. The pilots of the F-84s maintained manual control when attached, with roll axis maintained by elevator movement rather than aileron movement. Engines on the F-84s were shut down in order to save fuel during the "tow" by the mother ship, and in-flight engine restarts were successfully accomplished. The experiment ended in disaster during the first attempt to provide automatic flight control of the F-84s, when the electronics apparently malfunctioned. The left hand F-84-1-RE 48-641 rolled onto the wing of the B-29, and the connected aircraft both crashed with loss of all onboard personnel.
The pilot of the right-hand F-84D-1-RE 48-661 wrote of the Tip-Tow experiments in an article entitled Aircraft Wingtip Coupling Experiments published by the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.
The photo above was taken during the longest "hookup" on 20 October 1950.
File:Boeing B-29 TomTom.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
Goleta Air and Space Museum: Flying Aircraft Carriers of the USAF: Wing Tip Coupling: B-29B/F-84D
FICON project - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
One of the veterans at the B29 forum had this to say:
"It was real and all three of them crashed in the process. Another goofy idea that looked great on paper. If memory serves the B-29 was 44-62093 and the crash occurred 11/20/51."