Bell X-1/X-1E/X-2, Douglas X-3, Northrop X-4, Bell X-5: Early X-Planes PDF eBook

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January 1976

  • Mach 3.0, Breaking the Sound Barrier in the Bell X-2

February 1976

  • Mach 3.0, Exploring the Edges of Outer Space in the Bell X-2

April 1982

  • Behind The Bell X-1 Rocket Plane Crashes

September 1983

  • Stiletto, A Detailed Look At Douglas Aircraft’s Needle-Nosed, Supersonic Research Ship, The X-3.

February 1991

  • Machbusters, Memoirs Of A Veteran Test Pilot

November 1996

  • Rendezvous At Mach 1, Commemorating The Breaking Of The Sound Barrier!

January 1999

  • Prototypes: The X-Jobs

June 2002

  • “Toward The Unknown”, Filming the 1956 Warner Brothers Classic about the Bell X-2

September 2003

  • Father of the Motherships, The Planes that Launched the Legends and the Pilots that Flew Them

September 2004

  • Swingin’ on a Spar, the Bell X-5 variable geometry wing

November 2003

  • Dueling Test Pilots, Yeager vs. Crossfield
  • Salute to “The Right Stuff”
  • Back in the Saddle, the story of Pancho Barnes

January 2005

  • Bell X-2 Color Schemes

April 2007

  • Douglas X-3 Stiletto

Manuals & Photos

  • X-1A Pilot’s Handbook 1951
  • X-3 Operating Instructions 1951
  • X-4 Operating Instructions 1948
  • X-5 Research Plane 1954
  • American X-Vehicles X-1 to X-50
  • Toward Mach 2 – The Douglas D-558 Program
  • Probing The Sky, NASA Aeronautics
  • Flights of Discovery, 50 Years at NASA Dryden
  • And nearly 400 photos of early X-Planes!

Early X-Planes Specifications

General Characteristics

X1-Diagram

  • Crew: one
  • Length: 30 ft 11 in (9.4 m)
  • Wingspan: 28 ft (8.5 m)
  • Height: 10 ft (3.3 m)
  • Wing area: 130 ft² (12 m²)
  • Empty weight: 7,000 lb (3,175 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 12,225 lb (5,545 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 12,250 lb (5,557 kg)
  • Powerplant: one × Reaction Motors XLR-11-RM3 liquid-propellant rocket, 6,000 lbf (1,500 lbf per chamber) (26.7 kN) each
  • Color : International Orange (same color as the Golden Gate Bridge)

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)
  • Wing loading: 94 lb/ft² (463 kg/m²)
  • Thrust/weight: 0.49

On Display

  • X-1-1, Air Force Serial Number 46-062, is currently displayed in the Milestones of Flight gallery of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, alongside the Spirit of St. Louis and SpaceShipOne.
  • X-1B, AF Ser. No. 48-1385, is on display in the Research & Development Hangar at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

General Characteristics

X1E-Diagram

  • Crew: one
  • Length: 31 ft (9.4488 m)
  • Wingspan: 22 ft 10 in (6.9596 m)
  • Height: 10 ft 10 in (3.3 m)
  • Wing area: 115 ft² (10.684 m²)
  • Empty weight: 6,850 lb (3,107.107 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 14,750 lb (6,690.487 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Reaction Motors RMI LR-8-RM-5 rocket, 6,000 lbf (26.7 kN)

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 1,450 mph (Mach 2.24) (2,333.548 km/h)
  • Range: 4 minutes 45 seconds (powered endurance)
  • Service ceiling: 90,000+ ft (27,432+ m)

On Display

  • X-1E, AF Ser. No. 46-063, is on display in front of the NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center headquarters building at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

General Characteristics

X2-Diagram

  • Crew: one, pilot
  • Length: 37 ft 10 in (11.5 m)
  • Wingspan: 32 ft 3 in (9.8 m)
  • Height: 11 ft 10 in (3.6 m)
  • Wing area: 260 ft² (24.2 m²)
  • Airfoil: 2S-50 bicon
  • Empty weight: 12,375 lb (5,600 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 24,910 lb (11,300 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 24,910 lb (11,300 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Curtiss-Wright XLR25 rocket engine, 15,000 lbf (67 kN)at sea level

Performance

  • Maximum speed: Mach 3.196 (2,094 mph, 3,370 km/h)
  • Service ceiling: 126,200 ft (38,466 m)

General Characteristics

X3-Diagram

  • Crew: one
  • Length: 66 ft 9 in (20.3 m)
  • Wingspan: 22 ft 8 in (6.9 m)
  • Height: 12 ft 6 in (3.8 m)
  • Wing area: 166.5 ft² (15.47 m²)
  • Empty weight: 16,120 lb (7,310 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 23,840 lb (10,810 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Westinghouse J34 afterburning turbojet, 3,370 lbf, 4,850 lbf with afterburning (15.0 kN, 21.6 kN with afterburning) each

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 700 mph (1,125 km/h)
  • Range: 497 mi (800 km)
  • Service ceiling: 38,000 ft (11,600 m)
  • Thrust/weight: 0.40

On Display

  • The sole X-3 was transferred in 1956 to the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio As of 2008 it is on display in the Museum’s Research & Development Gallery.

General Characteristics

X4-Diagram

  • Crew: one
  • Length: 22 ft 3 in (7.09 m)
  • Wingspan: 26 ft 10 in (8.18 m)
  • Height: 14 ft 10 in (4.52 m)
  • Wing area: 200 sq ft (18.6 m2)
  • Aspect ratio: 3.6:1
  • Empty weight: 5,507 lb (2,500 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 7,820 lb (3,550 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Westinghouse J30-WE-7/9 turbojet, 1,600 lbf (7.1 kN) each

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 625 mph (543 knots, 1,006 km/h)
  • Range: 420 mi (365 nmi, 676 km)
  • Service ceiling: 42,300 ft (12,900 m)
  • Rate of climb: 7,700 ft/min (39.1 m/s)

General Characteristics

X5-Diagram

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 33 ft 4 in (10.1 m)
  • Wingspan:
    • Unswept: 33 ft 6 in (10.2 m)
    • 60° sweep: 20 ft 10 in (6.5 m)
  • Height: 12 ft (3.6 m)
  • Wing area: 175 sq. ft. (16.26 m².)
  • Empty weight: 6,336 lb (2,880 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 9,980 lb (4,536 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Allison J35-A-17 turbojet, 4,900 lbf (21.8 kN)

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 716 mph (1,150 km/h)
  • Range: 750 mi (1,207 km)
  • Service ceiling: 49,900 ft (15,200 m)
  • Thrust/weight: 0.50:1

On Display

  • The sole surviving X-5 is now at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Basenear Dayton, Ohio. It was delivered to the Museum in March 1958. It is displayed in the Museum’s Research & Development Hangar.

General Characteristics

  • Crew: one pilot
  • Payload: 500 lb of instruments (227 kg)
  • Length: 35 ft 8 in (10.87 m)
  • Wingspan: 25 ft 0 in (7.62 m)
  • Height: 12 ft 1 in (3.68 m)
  • Wing area: 150.7 ft² (14.00 m²)
  • Loaded weight: 9,750 lb (4,423 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 10,105 lb (4,583 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Allison J35-A-11 turbojet, 5,000 lbf (22 kN)

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 650 mph at sea level (1,050 km/h)
  • Stall speed: 137 mph (221 km/h)
  • Service ceiling: 45,700 ft (13,900 m)
  • Rate of climb: 9,220 ft/min (2,810 m/min)
  • Wing loading: 67 lb/ft² (330 kg/m²)
  • Thrust/weight: 0.51

General Characteristics

  • Crew: one pilot
  • Length: 42 ft 0 in (12.8 m)
  • Wingspan: 25 ft 0 in (7.6 m)
  • Height: 22 ft 8 in (3.8 m)
  • Wing area: 175 ft² (16.2 m²)
  • Empty weight: 9,421 lb (4,273 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 15,266 lb (6,923 kg)
  • Powerplant:
    • 1 × Westinghouse J34-WE-40 turbojet, 3,000 lbf (13 kN)
    • 1 × Reaction Motors XLR-8-RM-5 rocket engine, 6,000 lbf (27 kN)

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 720 mph, 1,250 mph when air-launched (1,160 km/h, 2,010 km/h when air-launched)
  • Stall speed: 160.1 mph (257.7 km/h)
  • Service ceiling: 16,500 ft (5,030 m)
  • Rate of climb: 22,400 ft/min, 11,100 ft/min under rocket power only (6,830 m/min., 3,380 m/min under rocket power only)
  • Wing loading: 87.2 lb/ft² (426 kg/m²)
  • Thrust/weight (jet): 0.39