Bell X-Planes

The Bell X-1 was a rocket engine–powered aircraft, designated originally as the XS-1,  supersonic research.

 

Bell Glamorous Glennis X-1

Design and development

The Bell X-1 was a rocket engine–powered aircraft, designated originally as the XS-1, and was a joint National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics–U.S. Army Air Forces–U.S. Air Force supersonic research project built by Bell Aircraft. Conceived during 1944 and designed and built in 1945, it achieved a speed of nearly 1,000 miles per hour (1,600 km/h; 870 kn) in 1948. A derivative of this same design, the Bell X-1A, having greater fuel capacity and hence longer rocket burning time, exceeded 1,600 miles per hour (2,600 km/h; 1,400 kn) in 1954. The X-1, piloted by Chuck Yeager, was the first manned airplane to exceed the speed of sound in level flight and was the first of the X-planes, a series of American experimental rocket planes (and non-rocket planes) designated for testing of new technologies and often kept secret.

 

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In 1942, the United Kingdom's Ministry of Aviation began a top secret project with Miles Aircraft to develop the world's first aircraft capable of breaking the sound barrier. The project resulted in the development of the prototype turbojet-powered Miles M.52, designed to reach 1,000 miles per hour (870 kn; 1,600 km/h) (over twice the existing airspeed record) in level flight, and to climb to an altitude of 36,000 ft (11 km) in 1 min 30 sec.

Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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The Bell X-1 was a rocket engine–powered aircraft, designated originally as the XS-1, and was a joint National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics–U.S. Army Air Forces–U.S. Air Force supersonic research project built by Bell Aircraft.

 Bell X-Planes
Bell Glamorous Glennis X-1

The first manned supersonic flight occurred on 14 October 1947, less than a month after the U.S. Air Force had been created as a separate service. Captain Charles "Chuck" Yeager piloted USAF aircraft #46-062, nicknamed Glamorous Glennis for his wife. The airplane was drop launched from the bomb bay of a B-29 and reached Mach 1.06 (700 miles per hour (1,100 km/h; 610 kn)). Following burnout of the engine, the plane glided to a landing on the dry lake bed. This was XS-1 flight number 50.

Bell X-1: See below

  • History

    Role Experimental rocket plane

    National origin United States

    Manufacturer Bell Aircraft

    First flight 19 January 1946

    Status Retired

     

     

  • Users

    Primary users United States Air Force

    National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics

    Number built 4

     

     

  • General Info

    Crew: one

    Length: 30 ft 11 in (9.4 m)

    Wingspan: 28 ft (8.5 m)

    Height: 10 ft (3.3 m)

    Powerplant: one × Reaction Motors XLR-11-RM3 liquid-propellant rocket, 6,000 lbf

    Performance; Maximum speed: 957 mph (Mach 1.26) (1,541 km/h)

    Range: five minutes (powered endurance); Service ceiling: 71,902 ft (21,916 m)

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