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Bell X-1 RSS

Bell X-1
Images in: /Aviation/Test Aircraft "X-Planes"/Bell X-1

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 Chuck Yeager pilot of the Bell X-1 Chuck Yeager pilot of the Bell X-1
USAF Captain Charles "Chuck" Yeager pilot of the Bell X-1, October 14, 1947.  On October 14, 1947, with USAF Captain Charles "Chuck" Yeager as pilot, the X-1-1 flew faster than the speed of sound for what is generally accepted as the first supersonic flight by a piloted aircraft. Captain Yeager ignited the four-chambered XLR-11 rocket engines after being air-launched from under the bomb bay of a JTB-29A (#45-21800) at 21,000 feet.  The 6,000-pound thrust ethyl alcohol/liquid oxygen burning rockets, built by Reaction Motors, Inc., pushed him up to a speed of approximately 700 mph, or Mach 1.06, at an altitude of 43,000 feet. Chuck Yeager named his plane "Glamorous Glennis" arter his wife Glennis.
 
 
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Bell Aircraft X-1 Sitting on the ramp with Boeing B-29 Mothership Bell Aircraft X-1 Sitting on the ramp with Boeing B-29 Mothership
The Bell Aircraft X-1-2 Sitting on the ramp at NACA High-Speed Flight Research Station with the Boeing B-29 launch ship behind. The painting near the nose of the B-29 depicts a stork carrying a bundle which is symbolic of the Mothership launching her babe (X-1-2). The pilot access door is open to the cockpit of the X-1-2 aircraft. On the X-1-2's fin is the old NACA shield, which was later replaced with a yellow band and the letters "NACA" plus wings that were both black.
 
 
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Bell Aircraft X-1E on Rogers Dry Lakebed Bell Aircraft X-1E on Rogers Dry Lakebed
The Bell X-1E in 1955 on the Rogers Dry Lakebed near the NACA High-Speed Flight Station, Edwards, California. The X-1E was notable for being shorter, with a thinner wing than the X-1A, -B, and -D. Aerodynamic heating caused the ailerons, rudder, and elevators to remain unpainted throughout the X-1E’s flight test program. When the ventral fins were added, they were left unpainted too. On August 31, 1956, the aircraft reached a top speed of 1,480 miles per hour (Mach 2.24).
 
 
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Bell X-1 at Muroc Air Field Bell X-1 at Muroc Air Field
 The Bell Aircraft X-1-2 aircraft on the ramp at NACA High Speed Flight Research Station located on the South Base of Muroc Army Air Field in 1947. The X-1-2 flew until October 23, 1951, completing 74 glide and powered flights with nine different pilots. The aircraft has white paint and the NACA tail band.  The black Xs are reference markings for tracking purposes. They were widely used on NACA aircraft in the early 1950s.
 
 
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Bell X-1 cockpit instrument panel Bell X-1 cockpit instrument panel
Bell Aircraft  X-1aircraft cockpit instruments display. The gages reflecting the airplane's parameters such as indicated pressure altitude, indicated airspeed, rocket chamber pressure, fuel and liquid oxygen supply, angle of attack, angle of sideslip, and Mach number are shown. Other information pertinent for the pilot to complete a successful flight is also displayed.
 
 
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Bell X-1 Flight instrumentation Bell X-1 Flight instrumentation
Bell Aircraft Corporation X-1 series aircraft on display at an Open House at NACA Muroc Flight Test Unit or High-Speed Flight Research Station hangar on South Base of Edwards Air Force Base, California. The instrumentation that was carried aboard the aircraft to gather data is on display. The aircraft data was recorded on oscillograph film that was read, calibrated, and converted into meaningful parameters for the engineers to evaluate from each research flight. In the background of the photo are several early U.S. jets. These include several Lockheed P-80 Shooting Stars, which were used as chase planes on X-1 flights; two Bell P-59 Airacomets, the first U.S. jet pursuit aircraft (fighter in later parlance); and a prototype Republic XP-84 Thunderjet.
 
 
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Bell X-1 in high speed flight Bell X-1 in high speed flight
 The Bell Aircraft X-1-1 (#46-062) in flight. The shock wave pattern in the exhaust plume is visible. The X-1 series aircraft were air-launched from a modified Boeing B-29 or B-50 Superfortress bombers. The X-1-1 was painted a bright orange by Bell Aircraft. It was thought that the aircraft would be more visable to those doing the tracking during a flight.  When NACA received the airplanes they were painted white, which was an easier color to find in the skies over Muroc Air Field in California. This particular craft was nicknamed "Glamorous Glennis" by Chuck Yeager in honor of his wife, and is now on permanent display in the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.
 
 
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Bell X-1 known as "Queenie," is mated to the EB-50A Bell X-1 known as "Queenie," is mated to the EB-50A
The third X-1 (46-064), known as "Queenie," is mated to the EB-50A (46-006) at Edwards AFB, California. Following a captive flight on 9 November 1951, both aircraft were destroyed by fire during defueling. This particular X-1 only flew twice, the first flight occurring on 20 July 1951. Bell pilot Joseph Cannon was the pilot on both flights, although the second flight was only a captive flight. Cannon was injured in the fire.
 
 
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Bell X-1 sits on Rogers Lakebed Bell X-1 sits on Rogers Lakebed
The Bell Aircraft Corporation X-1-2 sits on the Rogers Dry Lakebed at Muroc Air Force Base, California in 1949. Some airplane characteristics are: Fuselage length, feet 31.0 Wing span, feet 28.0 Horizontal tail width, feet 11.4 Vertical tail height, feet 8.02 (above center line of plane)
 
 
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Bell X-1 under Boeing B-29 Mothership Bell X-1 under Boeing B-29 Mothership
A roll-out of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress, bomber with the Bell Aircraft Corporation X-1-2 mated and ready for flight. NACA Flight 33 was flown on September 23, 1949, as a pilot familiarization flight with NACA pilot, John H. Griffith at the controls. Griffith reached a top speed of Mach 0.998 during the flight.
 
 
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Bell X-1-2 aircraft with pilots and crew Bell X-1-2 aircraft with pilots and crew
Bell X-1-2 aircraft parked on ramp with crew Left to right: Edwin R. Edwards, Bud Rogers, Henry "Kenny" Gaskins and Crew Chief Richard E. Payne at NACA High-Speed Flight Research center, Edwards AFB, 1949.
 
 
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Bell X-1E Aircraft on Rogers Dry Lakebed Bell X-1E Aircraft on Rogers Dry Lakebed
The Bell Aircraft Corporation X-1E is shown here in 1955 on the Rogers Dry Lakebed at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The X-1E was actually the extensively rebuilt X-1-2 (46-063). It had a new thin wing, a stepped canopy, and a low-pressure fuel system. It flew through 1958, bringing the X-1 saga to a close after twelve years of research flying at the NACA High-Speed Flight Station.
 
 
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Bell X-1E loaded under NACA Boeing B-29 Bell X-1E loaded under NACA Boeing B-29
The Bell Aircraft X-1E loaded into the Boeing B-29 in NACA High Speed Flight Station service area. The B-29 would carry the X-1E to an altitude of approximately 25,000 feet. If all systems were ‘go’ the aircraft would be launched. The pilot would activate the rocket engines and follow a pre-determined flight plan for altitude and speed, doing other maneuvers as requested, returning on a glide path to the Rogers Dry Lakebed for a touch down.
 
 
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Bell X-1E modified canopy Bell X-1E modified canopy
This photo appears to depict the design of the X-1E canopy, the X-1-2 was modified. The modifications included a new thin wing and a low-pressure fuel system and the most visible change was a raised canopy that replaced the original flush windshield on the aircraft, which was called the X-1E.
 
 
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Bell X-1e under Boeing B-29 mothership Bell X-1e under Boeing B-29 mothership
The Bell X-1E airplane being loaded under the mothership, Boeing B-29. The X planes had originally been lowered into a loading pit and the launch aircraft towed over the pit, where the rocket plane was hoisted by belly straps into the bomb bay. By the early 1950s a hydraulic lift had been installed on the ramp at the NACA High-Speed Flight Station to elevate the launch aircraft and then lower it over the rocket plane for mating, 1955.
 
 
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Bell X-1E under Boeing B-29 Mothership Bell X-1E under Boeing B-29 Mothership
The Bell Aircraft X-1E being loaded under the Boeing B-29 in preparation for a NACA High-Speed Flight Station captive flight in 1955. One rocket technician is servicing the aircraft while another technician is busy "buttoning" up an inspection panel.
 
 
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Captain Chuck Yeager transfers from B-29 to the Bell X-1 Captain Chuck Yeager transfers from B-29 to the Bell X-1
 Capt. Charles E. "Chuck" Yeager transfers from a B-29 mothership to the Bell X-1 on October 14, 1947.  On October 14, 1947, with USAF Captain Charles "Chuck" Yeager as pilot, the X-1 flew faster than the speed of sound for what is generally accepted as the first supersonic flight by a piloted aircraft. Captain Yeager ignited the four-chambered XLR-11 rocket engines after being air-launched from under the bomb bay of a JTB-29A (#45-21800) at 21,000 feet.  The 6,000-pound thrust ethyl alcohol/liquid oxygen burning rockets, built by Reaction Motors, Inc., pushed him up to a speed of approximately 700 mph, or Mach 1.06, at an altitude of 43,000 feet. Chuck Yeager named his plane "Glamorous Glennis" after his wife Glennis.
 
 
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Charles "Chuck" Yeager next to X-1 after historic flight, October 14, 1947 Charles "Chuck" Yeager next to X-1 after historic flight, October 14, 1947
USAF Captain Charles "Chuck" Yeager pilot of the Bell X-1 stands next to aircraft after historic flight, October 14, 1947. On October 14, 1947, with USAF Captain Charles "Chuck" Yeager as pilot, the X-1-1 flew faster than the speed of sound for what is generally accepted as the first supersonic flight by a piloted aircraft. Captain Yeager ignited the four-chambered XLR-11 rocket engines after being air-launched from under the bomb bay of a JTB-29A (#45-21800) at 21,000 feet. The 6,000-pound thrust ethyl alcohol/liquid oxygen burning rockets, built by Reaction Motors, Inc., pushed him up to a speed of approximately 700 mph, or Mach 1.06, at an altitude of 43,000 feet. Chuck Yeager named his plane "Glamorous Glennis" arter his wife Glennis.
 
 
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Chuck Yeager with Bell X-1 Chuck Yeager with Bell X-1
USAF pilot Captain Charles "Chuck" Yeager stand next to the Bell X-1 after he flew the speed of sound on October 14, 1947. On October 14, 1947, with USAF Captain Charles "Chuck" Yeager as pilot, the X-1-1 flew faster than the speed of sound for what is generally accepted as the first supersonic flight by a piloted aircraft. Captain Yeager ignited the four-chambered XLR-11 rocket engines after being air-launched from under the bomb bay of a JTB-29A (#45-21800) at 21,000 feet. The 6,000-pound thrust ethyl alcohol/liquid oxygen burning rockets, built by Reaction Motors, Inc., pushed him up to a speed of approximately 700 mph, or Mach 1.06, at an altitude of 43,000 feet. Chuck Yeager named his plane "Glamorous Glennis" arter his wife Glennis.
 
 
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Crew chief of the Bell XS-1 program Crew chief of the Bell XS-1 program
 Jack Russell, head of the rocket shop preparing to do pressurization tests on the XLR-11 rocket engine. The console provided the readings for the test of the rocket engine systems, NACA High-Speed Flight Station Rocket Shop, 1956.
 
 
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Historic NACA X-Planes at Edwards AFB Historic NACA X-Planes at Edwards AFB
 NACA High Speed Flight Station at Edwards AFB South Base. Aircraft are (left to right): D-558-2, D-558-1, X-5, X-1, XF-92A, and X-4. This is an early 1950s color photo of NACA research aircraft in front of the South Base hangar. On the left is the third D-558-2 (NACA 145/Navy 37975). At this time, the aircraft was still in the combined jet and rocket configuration. NACA 145 was used to test a number of wing modifications intended to lessen the pitch up of the aircraft in turns.
 
 
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Technicians servicing the Bell Aircraft X-1 prior to flight Technicians servicing the Bell Aircraft X-1 prior to flight
 Technicians servicing the Bell Aircraft  X-1 in preparation for a flight. On October 14, 1947, with USAF Captain Charles "Chuck" Yeager as pilot, the X-1-1 flew faster than the speed of sound for what is accepted as the first supersonic flight by a piloted aircraft. Captain Yeager ignited the four-chambered XLR-11 rocket engines after being air-launched from under the bomb bay of a JTB-29A (#45-21800) at 21,000 feet.
 
 
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Technicians servicing the Bell X-1 in preparation for a flight Technicians servicing the Bell X-1 in preparation for a flight
Technicians servicing the Bell X-1 in preparation for a flight. The X-1 is mated with the Boeing B-29. The hooks and strap that holds the X-1 in place under the B-29 can be seen just above the hand of the technician with the hose. The strap continues under the belly of the X-1 and holds the aircraft to the mothership until the word comes to "launch", and then the shackles are released.
 
 
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Test pilot Joe Walker getting out of X-1A Test pilot Joe Walker getting out of X-1A
 NACA test pilot Joseph Walker "Cowboy Joe" and his Bell X-1A Aircraft, a happy Joe was photographed in 1955 at Edwards, California.  The X-1A was flown six times by Bell Aircraft Company pilot Jean "Skip" Ziegler in 1953. Air Force test pilots Major Charles "Chuck" Yeager and Major Arthur "Kit" Murray made 18 flights between November 21, 1953 and August 26, 1954. The X-1A was then turned over to the NACA. Joe Walker piloted the first NACA flight on July 20, 1955.  Walker attemped a second flight on August 8, 1955, but an explosion damaged the aircraft just before launch. Walker, unhurt, climbed back into the JTB-29A mothership, and the X-1A was jettisoned over the Edwards AFB bombing range.
 
 
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Test pilot Joe Walker with X-1E before flight Test pilot Joe Walker with X-1E before flight
 Photo of the X-1E with pilot Joe Walker suited up at the NASA High-Speed Flight Station, Edwards, California. The dice and "Little Joe" are prominently displayed under the cockpit area. (Little Joe is a dice player's slang term for two deuces.)  Five years later when Walker reached 354,200 feet in the X-15, that aircraft carried similar artwork  "Little Joe the II." Walker is shown in the photo above wearing an early partial pressure suit. This protected the pilot if cockpit pressure was lost above 50,000 feet.
 
 
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Test pilot John Griffith in Bell X-1 with crew Test pilot John Griffith in Bell X-1 with crew
NACA research pilot John Griffith is leaning out the hatch of the X-1 #2. Surrounding him (left to right) are Dick Payne, Eddie Edwards, and maintenance chief Clyde Bailey. November 8, 1950.
 
 
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Top USAF Pilots for X-1 Flight Test Top USAF Pilots for X-1 Flight Test
Bell X-1 team members and USAF Pilots. From Left to Right: Joseph Vensel, Head of Operations; Gerald Truszynski, Head of Instrumentation; Captain Charles "Chuck" Yeager, USAF pilot; Walter Williams, Head of the Unit; Major Jack Ridley, USAF pilot; and De E. Beeler, Head of Engineers, NACA Muroc Flight Test 1947.
 
 
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USAF Captain Charles "Chuck" Yeager pilot of the Bell  X-1 USAF Captain Charles "Chuck" Yeager pilot of the Bell X-1
 USAF Captain Charles "Chuck" Yeager pilot of the Bell X-1, October 14, 1947.  On October 14, 1947, with USAF Captain Charles "Chuck" Yeager as pilot, the X-1-1 flew faster than the speed of sound for what is generally accepted as the first supersonic flight by a piloted aircraft. Captain Yeager ignited the four-chambered XLR-11 rocket engines after being air-launched from under the bomb bay of a JTB-29A (#45-21800) at 21,000 feet.  The 6,000-pound thrust ethyl alcohol/liquid oxygen burning rockets, built by Reaction Motors, Inc., pushed him up to a speed of approximately 700 mph, or Mach 1.06, at an altitude of 43,000 feet. Chuck Yeager named his plane "Glamorous Glennis" arter his wife Glennis.
 
 
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X-1 pilots Robert Champine and Herbert Hoover X-1 pilots Robert Champine and Herbert Hoover
 The Bell Aircraft Corporation X-1-2 and two of the NACA pilots that flew the aircraft. The one on the viewer's left is Robert Champine with the other being Herbert Hoover. Champine made a total of 13 flights in the X-1, plus 9 in the D-558-1 and 12 in the D-558-2. Hoover made 14 flights in the X-1.  On March 10, 1948, he reached Mach 1.065, becoming the first NACA pilot to fly faster than the speed of sound.
 
 
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X-1E during engine test, Edwards AFB X-1E during engine test, Edwards AFB
The Bell Aircraft X-1E during a ground engine test run on the NACA High-Speed Flight Station ramp near the Rogers Dry Lake. The rocket technician is keeping the concrete cool by hosing it with water during the test. This also helps in washing away any chemicals that might spill. The test crew worked close to the aircraft during ground tests.
 
 
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