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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.
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.
AAF contracted with Bell for development of three supersonic flight research aircraft, powered by liquid rockets. Designated XS-2, and later X-2.
First glide flight. Damaged on landing.
Second glide flight. Propellant system check. Minor damage on landing.
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.
Aborted powered flight attempt; became 4th glide flight.
First powered flight. Mach 0.992 at 10,675 m. Slight fire damage from engine bay fire.
Second powered flight, mach 0.91.
3d powered flight, mach 1.4 at 15250 m.
Fourth powered flight, mach 1.683 at 16,378 m.
Fifth powered flight, mach 1.8 at 18,300 m.
Sixth powered flight, mach 2.53 at 17.803 m.
Seventh powered flight; pilot checkout, mach 1+.
Eighth powered flight, premature engine shutdown.
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.
10th powered flight, mach 2.5+, 26764 m.
11th powered flight, premature engine shutdown.
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.
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.