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In support of the M2 lifting body program in the early 1960s, Dale Reed had built a number of small lifting body shapes and drop tested them from a radio controlled mothership. By late 1968, "Mother" had made over 120 launch drops. Next, Reed devised a program in which NASA research pilot Milt Thompson could remotely pilot "Mother" using an '8-ball' attitude indicator from the ground. Next, Reed and Thompson wanted to try the remote flying concept on a full scale design.
Because of his interest in lifting bodies, Reed chose the Langley Hyper III configuration, a slender re-entry shape with a flat bottom and sides. The Hyper III had a lift-to-drag ratio of about 3, and was designed with a fixed wing simulating a pop-out wing concept that could be used to increase the low-speed glide ratio of an actual re-entry vehicle.
The Hyper III was built at the center's shop for about $6500. The RPRV weighed 220 kilograms, measured 9.7 meters in length, and spanned 5.6 meters.
On December 12, 1969, the Hyper III was launched from a helicopter at 3000 meters, glided five kilometers, reversed course and glide five kilometers to its only landing.
Pilot Milt Thompson exhibited some suprising reactions during the Hyper III flight; he behaved as if he were in the cockpit of an actual research aircraft.
Although encouraged by the Hyper III RPRV configuration, the Center cancelled the program after this one flight since the aircraft had a much lower lift-to-drag ratio than predicted.