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Test Aircraft "X-Planes" RSS

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

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Bell X-5 with wings in high speed position Bell X-5 with wings in high speed position
Bell X-5 was taken at the South Base of Edwards Air Force Base. The photograph, on the ramp in-front of the NACA hangar, shows a frontal view of the X-5 illustrating it's wing sweep capability. This view also provides a good view of the inlet and attached nose boom on the top.
 
 
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Boeing B-47 and Lockheed F-80 chase plane Boeing B-47 and Lockheed F-80 chase plane
Boeing B-47E-65-BW (S/N 51-5257, the last Boeing-built block 65 -E model) during rocket-assisted take off test, being chased by a Lockheed F-80 jet.
 
 
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Boeing B-47 rocket-assisted take off Boeing B-47 rocket-assisted take off
Boeing B-47B rocket-assisted take off at Edwards Air Force Base, California. April 15, 1954. The "RATO", Rocket Assist Take Off, ports on the aft fuselage. JATO stands for 'Jet-assisted take off' (and the similar RATO for 'Rocket-assisted take off'). In the JATO and RATO systems, additional engines are mounted on the airframe which are used only during take off. Rare color photograph.
 
 
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Boeing B-47 rocket-assisted take off Boeing B-47 rocket-assisted take off
Boeing B-47 rocket-assisted take off at Edwards Air Force Base, California.
 
 
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Boeing B-47 Stratojet in flight Boeing B-47 Stratojet in flight
S.A.C. Boeing B-47 Stratojet aircraft in flight.
 
 
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Boeing B-47 Stratojet in flight Boeing B-47 Stratojet in flight
Boeing B-47 Stratojet in flight.
 
 
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Boeing XB-47 at roll out, Wichita, Kansas, 1950 Boeing XB-47 at roll out, Wichita, Kansas, 1950
 Boeing Airplane Company today released for the first time flight photographs of its newest model Air Force Stratojet bomber. Wichita, Kansas, August 11, 1950.  The photographs were taken during a recnt test flight near here of one of the production model B-47A Stratojets, fastest known bomber in the world. Boeing is building a substantial quanitity of the Stratojets at Wichita, the first of the new planes having been rolled March 1 from the assembly line. The swept-wing bomber has a top speed of more than 600 miles an hour.  It is powered by six General Electric J-47 turbo-jet engines, has a maximum gross takeoff weight of more than 186,000 pounds and can carry more than 20,000 pounds of bombs. An earlier model Stratojet, one of the two original XB-47's, last year spanned the nation from Moses Lake, Washington, to Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, in 3 hours 46 minutes at an average speed of 607.8 miles per hour.
 
 
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Boeing XB-47 at Wichita, Kansas Boeing XB-47 at Wichita, Kansas
Side view of Boeing XB-47 at Wichita, Kansas.
 
 
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Boeing XB-47 just before take off Boeing XB-47 just before take off
Aft view of Boeing XB-47 just before take off to Edwards Air Force Base, California. Note the "RATO", Rocket Assist Take Off, ports on the aft fuselage. JATO stands for 'Jet-assisted take off' (and the similar RATO for 'Rocket-assisted take off'). In the JATO and RATO systems, additional engines are mounted on the airframe which are used only during take off so plane can carry heavy loads.
 
 
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Boeing XB-47 takes off from Edwards AFB Boeing XB-47 takes off from Edwards AFB
 Boeing's swept-wing XB-47 won the Air Force's postwar bomber competition and swiftly transformed the XB-46 and the XB-48 into aviation footnotes. Six Allison J35-2 turbojet engines slung in pods beneath the swept-back wings gave the prototype Stratojet nimble performance, and helped to validate a design concept still widely used today.  Although uprated J47-GE-3s were soon substituted, the B-47 also carried mountings for 18 solid-fuel booster rockets in the aft fuselage to shorten the takeoff roll.
 
 
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Boeing XB-47 takes off with JATO assistance Boeing XB-47 takes off with JATO assistance
Boeing's swept-wing XB-47 won the Air Force's postwar bomber competition and swiftly transformed the XB-46 and the XB-48 into aviation footnotes. Six Allison J35-2 turbojet engines slung in pods beneath the swept-back wings gave the prototype Stratojet nimble performance, and helped to validate a design concept still widely used today. Although uprated J47-GE-3s were soon substituted, the B-47 also carried mountings for 18 solid-fuel booster rockets in the aft fuselage to shorten the takeoff roll. Here, a XB-47 lifts off from Rogers Dry Lake with JATO assistance during Limited Heavy Weights Performance Tests at the Air Force Flight Test Center. Note the T-33 chase plane with its landing gear already retracted to keep up with the speedy B-47.
 
 
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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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Close-up photo of XB-70 taken from a chase plane during test flight Close-up photo of XB-70 taken from a chase plane during test flight
 This is a close-up photo of North American Aviation XB-70A taken from a chase plane. The XB-70 had a movable windshield and ramp. These were raised during supersonic flight to reduce drag. When the pilot was ready to land, he lowered the assembly to give both him and his copilot a clear view of the runway.  The XB-70A Valkyrie was the largest experimental aircraft, measuring 190 feet in length, with a wing span of 105 feet and standing 33 feet in height. The aircraft had a delta wing and hinged wing tip that could be folded down to a 65 degree angle to improve stability at the aircraft's supersonic speeds of up to Mach 3. At this speed the Valkyrie was designed to ride its own shock wave.
 
 
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Convair XB-46 maiden flight to Edwards AFB Convair XB-46 maiden flight to Edwards AFB
 While World War II was still raging, planners in the Army Air Forces were already thinking ahead to the jet plane era. A competition was begun in 1944 for the first jet bomber to be used by the postwar air force.    Consolidated-Vultee "Convair XB-46" entry was a dramatically sleek airframe powered by four J35-C-3 engines of 4,000 pounds thrust each, yielding a cruising speed of 439 mph. Its oval fuselage was 105 feet in length and had a bomb capacity of 22,000 pounds; very thin wings reached 113 feet.  The new bomber was flown to Edwards AFB on its first flight on April 2, 1947, for testing but even by then the design had become obsolescent. Only a single XB-46 was ever built.
 
 
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Crew & Pilots with first XB-35 Crew & Pilots with first XB-35
 Ground crew and pilots stand in front of the first Northrop XB-35 bomber at Northrop Aircraft Co. On June 25, 1946 the XB-35 Flying Wing bomber lifted from the runway at the Northrop Aircraft Co. and made its maiden flight to Edwards AFB (then Muroc Army Air Field).
 
 
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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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Douglas Airplanes at Edwards Air Force Base Douglas Airplanes at Edwards Air Force Base
A group picture of Douglas Airplanes, taken for a photographic promotion in 1954, at what is now known as the Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, California. The photo includes the X-3 (in front--Air Force serial number 49-2892) then clockwise D-558-1, XF4D-1 (a Navy jet fighter prototype not flown by the NACA), and the first D-558-2 (NACA tail number 143, Navy serial number 37973), which was flown only once by the NACA.
 
 
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Douglas research aircraft at the NACA High-Speed Flight Research Station Douglas research aircraft at the NACA High-Speed Flight Research Station
A 1953 photo of some of the research aircraft at the NACA High-Speed Flight Research Station (now known as the the Dryden Flight Research Center). The photo shows the X-3 (center) and, clockwise from left: X-1A (Air Force serial number 48-1384), the third D-558-1 (NACA tail number 142), XF-92A, X-5, D-558-2, and X-4.
 
 
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Douglas X-3 Stiletto aircraft Douglas X-3 Stiletto aircraft
The X-3 Stiletto was a single-place jet aircraft with a slender fuselage and a long tapered nose, manufactured by the Douglas Aircraft Company. The X-3's primary mission was to investigate the design features of an aircraft suitable for sustained supersonic speeds, which included the first use of titanium in major airframe components. It was delivered to the NACA High-Speed Flight Station in August of 1954 after some Douglas and Air Force evaluation testing.
 
 
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Douglas X-3 Stiletto aircraft Douglas X-3 Stiletto aircraft
 X-3 Stiletto is viewed from above and looking at the left side. The X-3 Stiletto was a single-place jet aircraft with a slender fuselage and a long tapered nose, manufactured by the Douglas Aircraft Company.  The X-3's primary mission was to investigate the design features of an aircraft suitable for sustained supersonic speeds, which included the first use of titanium in major airframe components. It was delivered to the NACA High-Speed Flight Station in August of 1954 after some Douglas and Air Force evaluation testing.
 
 
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Douglas X-3 Stiletto on lakebed Douglas X-3 Stiletto on lakebed
The X-3 Stiletto is seen illuminated by sunlight off the lakebed at Edwards Air Force Base. This photograph illustrates why, of all the early NACA test aircraft, the X-3 was called the "best looking of the lot." The X-3 Stiletto was a single-place jet aircraft with a slender fuselage and a long tapered nose, manufactured by the Douglas Aircraft Company.
 
 
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Douglas XB-43 bomber at Edwards AFB Douglas XB-43 bomber at Edwards AFB
 Douglas XB-43 was America's first turbojet-powered bomber prototype configured with a pair of buried J35 engines which provided a combined thrust of 7,500 pounds. Essentially a straightforward modification of Douglas' piston-engined, pusher-prop XB-42 Mixmaster, the XB-43 completed its maiden flight at Muroc on May 17, 1946.  XB-43 went on to demonstrate a maximum sea-level speed of 515 mph, a service ceiling of 38,500 feet, and a maximum range of 2,840 miles. By the time of its first flight, however, the novel jet bomber had been overtaken by more advanced designs already on the drawing board, and it was soon relegated to the role of a technology demonstrator.
 
 
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Douglas XB-43 first turbojet-powered bomber Douglas XB-43 first turbojet-powered bomber
 Configured with a pair of buried J35 engines which provided a combined thrust of 7,500 pounds, the Douglas XB-43 was America's first turbojet-powered bomber prototype.  Essentially a straightforward modification of Douglas' piston-engined, pusher-prop XB-42 Mixmaster, the XB-43 completed its maiden flight at Muroc on May 17, 1946.  The Douglas XB43 went on to demonstrate a maximum sea-level speed of 515 mph, a service ceiling of 38,500 feet, and a maximum range of 2,840 miles.    By the time of its first flight, however, the novel jet bomber had been overtaken by more advanced designs already on the drawing board, and it was soon relegated to the role of a technology demonstrator.
 
 
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First Boeing XB-47 rocket-assisted take off First Boeing XB-47 rocket-assisted take off
First Boeing XB-47 rocket-assisted take off at Edwards Air Force Base, December 31, 1948.
 
 
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Fleet of XB-35 undergoing maintenance Fleet of XB-35 undergoing maintenance
A fleet of Northrop XB-35 Flying Wing undergoing maintenance during flight testing, Muroc Army Air Field now called Edwards AFB.
 
 
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Ground crew with X-15 after landing Ground crew with X-15 after landing
 X-15 (56-6672) research aircraft is secured by ground crew after landing on Rogers Dry Lakebed. The work of the X-15 team did not end with the landing of the aircraft. Once it had stopped on the lakebed, the pilot had to complete an extensive post-landing checklist.  Post-landing checklist involved recording instrument readings, pressures and temperatures, positioning switches, and shutting down systems. The pilot was then assisted from the aircraft, and a small ground crew depressurized the tanks before the rest of the ground crew finished their work on the aircraft.
 
 
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Historic NACA test aircraft in hangar Historic NACA test aircraft in hangar
 NACA Aircraft in hangar clockwise from front center: YF-84A, D-558-1, D-558-2, XB-47, X-1 ship 2, and XF-92A. Behind the B-47 L-R: X-4, F-51, D-558-1, and X-5.
 
 
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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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