The Fulton Skyhook

The Fulton Skyhook

The Fulton 'Skyhook' in use.

The deviceEdit

The Fulton surface-to-air recovery system (STARS or 'sky hook' system) was a reteval system used by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), United States Air Force and United States Navy for retrieving people from ground locations by using aircraft such as the HC-130E Combat Talon I.

It involved the person on the ground using an overall-type harness attached to a self-inflating balloon which carried a strong attached 'lift line'.

A aircraft like a HC-130E engages the thick, durable, line and hooks it up with its V-shaped yoke and the individual is reeled on board.

Red flags were pre-attached on the lift line to help guide the pilots during daylight recoveries. Lights were used on the lift line for night-time recoveries. The recovery kits were designed for one and 2 man retrievals.  

The Fulton system was planned in 1952 and used from 1958 to 1996. 

Popular cultureEdit

A sky hook-equipped US Navy aeroplane rescues 007 and his babe at the end of the film Thunderball.

Also seeEdit

  1. Skyhook momentum exchange tether
  2. Science

Other uses of "skyhook"Edit


Outside linksEdit

Fulton system1

Fulton surface-to-air 'sky-hook' recovery system.

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