1987 - Volume #11, Issue #4, Page #20[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Shuttle Look AlikeA space shuttle look-alike that started out as an "airplane mobile" home might be just the attention-getter your town needs in its next parade.
Built by Robert and Heike Pfeiffer, the "Smile Shuttle", as it's called, makes appearances throughout the U.S., Canada and even Europe at parades, carnivals, conventions, trade shows and other events. It's shown up on Good Morning America, Real People, and other TV shows as well as in national newspapers and magazines.
The shuttle started out as an airplane mobile home built from the entire fuselage of a 1944 Douglas DC-3 that had been mounted on a bus chassis. When the Pfeiffers purchased the rig from the original owner, it was "almost ready for the junkheap," according to Heike. "We rebuilt it 99.9%, adding side panels and rear 'rockets' as well as an authentic paint job so it closely resembles the space shuttle. The entire fuselage of the DC-3 still remains intact."
The inside of the shuttle, done in black carpet and naugahyde, consists of a large lounge area for use as a hospitality suite at conventions and shows. The ceiling is painted with a "spacescape" of the solar system. The "cockpit" contains all the gauges of a real airplace as well as a functioning state-of-the-art navigational system that shows the driver where he is at that moment by displaying a map of streets on a video screen. The shuttle is also fitted with an audio system that's powerful enough to simulate the sound of rocket engines taking off.
The shuttle measures 40 ft. front to back, which is less than a third of the size of the actual shuttle. It's more than 8 ft. wide and 13 ft. high. It carries two 55-gal. fuel tanks.
The Pfeiffer's rent the shuttle out to parades for $500 per day, not counting transportation price which varies depending on how many events can be booked at once in a particular area.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Smile Shuttle, P.O. Box 87, Cardiff-By-The-Sea, Calif. 92007 (ph 619 753-2705).
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