“The research pilots at what in 1962 was called the Flight Research Center standing in front of the X-1E. They are (left to right) Neil Armstrong, Joe Walker, Bill Dana, Bruce Peterson, Jack McKay, Milt Thompson, and Stan Butchart.
Of the group, Armstrong, Walker, Dana, McKay and Thompson all flew the X-15. Bruce Peterson flew the M2-F2 and HL-10 lifting bodies, while Stan Butchart was the B-29 drop plane pilot for many of the D-558-II and X-1 series research aircraft.” (via)
CHALLENGE: I am not aware of any photographs in existence that show Neil Armstrong either with or in the X-1B or X-5 - which he flew prior to the X-15. A gift will be sent to the first person who can come up with something..
“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 November 9, 1951, both aircraft were destroyed by fire during de-fueling. 11 September 1951” (via)
Total number of X-1 aircraft: 6
Total flights: 238 (1946-1958)
Pilots involved: 28
Aircraft lost: 3
“…A career in flying was like climbing one of those ancient Babylonian pyramids made up of a dizzy progression of steps and ledges, a ziggurat, a pyramid extraordinarily high and steep; and the idea was to prove at every foot of the way up that pyramid that you were one of the elected and anointed ones who had the right stuff and could move higher and higher and even-ultimately, God willing, one day-that you might be able to join that special few at the very top, that elite who had the capacity to bring tears to men’s eyes, the very Brotherhood of the right stuff indeed.”
“The X-15 ejection seat, like all other seats of the era, was tested on the rocket sled track at Edwards AFB, California. The sled test results were mixed, with many failures of both the sled and the seat for various reasons, but ultimately the Air Force, NASA, and North American were satisfied that the seat would work as advertised.”
“From a wing mounted camera, X-2 number one is shown returning to base after its first glide flight on 5 August 1954”
“the X-13 demonstrating a vertical landing to a hook device mounted atop its vertical launch/landing platform”
“READY FOR TAKE-OFF, X-13 hangs by its nose hook from cable stretched across launching platform. Long tube protruding from nose holds two instruments which measure plane’s yaw, pitch and angle of attack. When plane lands, its nose is hooked back onto cable.
Combat versions of this model could dispense with platform and land on cable stretched between two trees. Blackened area on concrete behind plane is asphalt which was melted by jet blast in engine test”
Northrop X-4 Bantam, circa 1948
“Yeah right, NASA. I still haven’t got a jetpack, and now you’re promising us flying cars. You might want to focus on your core functionality before you go making wild promises.”
“Charles Pritchard, designer builder and pilot, makes first test of his wingless Rocket Air Ship on mile lone runway at Emporia, Virginia, airport, 8A-1030A today, (Friday). Plane has short baffles or fins in place of wings, 90 hp engine, conventional propeller and tail assembly, tricycle landing gear, is 21 feet long 98 inches wide weighs 800 lbs. Pritchard made eight runs along runway, but didn’t; get off the ground. Says he’ll make modifications and try again.” (circa 1955)