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Credit: NASA. 25,827 bytes. 596 x 245 pixels.

Other Designations: XS-2. Class: Manned. Type: Rocketplane. Nation: USA. Manufacturer: Bell.

X-2 was an AAF/ Bell project that flew three supersonic flight research aircraft, powered by liquid rockets. Originally designated XS-2. The X-2 was the first swept-wing X rocketplane. It exceeded Mach 3, but in the course of doing so uncovered the supersonic aircraft problem of inertial coupling. On its last flight the aircraft crashed and the pilot was killed.


X-2 Chronology

01 July 1945 Goddard's rocket team ends its work.

Goddard's rocket team ends its work at the Naval Engineering Experiment Station at Annapolis, Maryland. During the previous three years the team had developed a variable-thrust rocket motors. This required hundreds of proving-stand tests, but eventually producing a successful motor, later used on the Bell X-2 rocket plane.

14 December 1945 X-2 rocket airplane development starts.

AAF contracted with Bell for development of three supersonic flight research aircraft, powered by liquid rockets. Designated XS-2, and later X-2.

05 August 1954 X-2 Flight 1 Flight Crew: Everest.

First glide flight. Damaged on landing.

08 March 1955 X-2 Flight 2 Flight Crew: Everest.

Second glide flight. Propellant system check. Minor damage on landing.

06 April 1955 X-2 Flight 3 Flight Crew: Everest.

3d glide flight. Damaged on landing. Following flight, plane returned to Bell plant for extensive modifications to landing gear system to prevent further landing accidents and for installation of its rocket engine.

25 October 1955 X-2 Flight 4 Flight Crew: Everest.

Aborted powered flight attempt; became 4th glide flight.

18 November 1955 X-2 Flight 5 Flight Crew: Everest.

First powered flight. Mach 0.992 at 10,675 m. Slight fire damage from engine bay fire.

24 March 1956 X-2 Flight 6 Flight Crew: Everest.

Second powered flight, mach 0.91.

25 April 1956 X-2 Flight 7 Flight Crew: Everest.

3d powered flight, mach 1.4 at 15250 m.

01 May 1956 X-2 Flight 8 Flight Crew: Everest.

Fourth powered flight, mach 1.683 at 16,378 m.

11 May 1956 X-2 Flight 9 Flight Crew: Everest.

Fifth powered flight, mach 1.8 at 18,300 m.

22 May 1956 X-2 Flight 10 Flight Crew: Everest.

Sixth powered flight, mach 2.53 at 17.803 m.

25 May 1956 X-2 Flight 11 Flight Crew: Kincheloe.

Seventh powered flight; pilot checkout, mach 1+.

12 July 1956 X-2 Flight 12 Flight Crew: Everest.

Eighth powered flight, premature engine shutdown.

23 July 1956 X-2 Flight 13 Flight Crew: Everest.

Ninth powered flight, Lt. Col. Frank K. Everest (USAF) flew the Bell X-2 rocket-powered research plane at a record speed of Mach 2.87, ust over 1,900 mph, at 20,802 m.

03 August 1956 X-2 Flight 14 Flight Crew: Kincheloe.

10th powered flight, mach 2.5+, 26764 m.

08 August 1956 X-2 Flight 15 Flight Crew: Kincheloe.

11th powered flight, premature engine shutdown.

07 September 1956 X-2 Flight 16 Flight Crew: Kincheloe.

12th powered flight. Capt. Iven C. Kincheloe (USAF) set new unofficial altitude record for manned flight at Edwards AFB, Calif., piloting a Bell X-2 rocket-powered aircraft to a height of 38,491 m, top speed Mach 1.7.

27 September 1956 X-2 reaches Mach 3.

After having been launched from a B-50 bomber over the Mojave Desert in California, Capt. Milburn G. Apt (USAF), flying an X-2 rocket-powered plane on its 13th powered flight, set a record speed of 2,094 mph, or Mach 3.196. In the course of the flight the aircraft crashed and the pilot was killed.


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Last update 12 March 2001.
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© Mark Wade, 2001 .