Team Dominator

Team Dominator was founded in 2008 in a garage in Oklahoma.  After years of deploying probes only to have the tornado miss the instruments, Reed set out to create a “mobile tornado” probe, which they could adjust the position of as the circulation got closer.

For the build, Reed teamed up with Kevin Barton, a brilliant mechanic at the golf course where Reed worked.  Reed took out a loan to buy a 2008 Chevy Tahoe, and proceeded to chop it in half.  The design required that the vehicle be extremely low profile, flush to the ground at the intercept point, to eliminate the wind from getting underneath the vehicle and reduce the lift across the vehicle  Armored plating, shatter-proof glass, and an impact-resistant skin were added to protect the vehicle’s occupants, and scientific instruments were secured.  The Dominator was born.

Dominator 1 was successful in intercepting four major tornadoes, but to accomplish comprehensive science, more data points were needed. This led to the build of the Dominator 2 and the Dominator 3, which were stronger, faster, and more mobile than the Dominator 1. The Dominator 2 had an air cannon system built into the outer shell, capable of launching eight to 16 sensors at the same time while inside of the tornado. 

The Dominator 3 was built using a Ford Super Duty pickup truck as the base vehicle, and it was capable of withstanding a tornado likely up to EF5 intensity. It had an electric winch, airbag lowering suspension, hydraulic anchoring spikes, and gull-wing doors for the driver, front and rear passengers. The Dominator 3 also had a rocket launcher on the roof, capable of launching miniaturized sensors into the tornado by model rocket, which the team accomplished in Lawrence, Kansas in 2019.

Throughout the years, Reed and the Dominators have attracted scientific collaborators, chase partners, research sponsors, and of course, millions of fans. 

Collectively, we’re known as “Team Dominator”, and we Never Stop Chasing.