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Beyond Mach One

Seventy-two years ago today, the rocket-powered USAF/Bell XS-1 experimental aircraft exceeded the speed of sound when it reached a maximum speed of 700 mph (Mach 1.06) at 45,000 feet. Bell Aircraft Corporation of Buffalo, New York built three copies of the XS-1 under contract to the United States Army Air… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Mach Three

Fifty-four years ago this month, the USAF/North American XB-70A Valkyrie reached three times the speed of sound for the first time. This historic aviation achievement took place on the 18th anniversary of the breaking of the sound barrier by the USAF/Bell XS-1. When it comes to legendary aircraft, aviation enthusiasts… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Flying Faster Than a Speeding Bullet

Fifty-two years ago today, USAF Major William J. “Pete” Knight piloted the fabled USAF/North American X-15A-2 rocket-powered hypersonic flight research aircraft to a record speed of 4,520 mph – roughly a mile and a quarter per second. This mark is approximately 50 percent faster than the highest speed ever attained… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Final Flight: USAF X-2, Ship 1

Sixty-three years ago today, the No. 1 USAF/Bell X-2 rocket-powered flight research aircraft reached a record speed of 2,094 mph with USAF Captain Milburn G. “Mel” Apt at the controls. However, triumph quickly turned to tragedy when the aircraft departed controlled flight, crashed to destruction, and Apt perished. Mel Apt’s… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, Final Flight, History

Valiancy in the Air

Thirty-six years ago this month, the valiant crew of a USAF KC-135 Stratotanker performed multiple aerial refuelings of a stricken USAF F-4E Phantom II over the North Atlantic Ocean. Conducted under extremely perilous flight conditions, the remarkable actions of the aerial tanker’s crew allowed the F-4E to remain aloft long… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Celestial Bull’s Eye

Thirty-four years ago today, the USAF/LTV ASM-135 anti-satellite missile successfully intercepted a target satellite orbiting 300 nautical miles above surface of the Earth. The historic test was the first and only time that an aircraft-launched missile successfully engaged and destroyed an orbiting spacecraft. The United States began testing anti-satellite missiles… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

X-1A Highest Flight

Sixty-five years ago this month, USAF Major Arthur W. “Kit” Murray set a new world altitude record of 90,440 feet in the rocket-powered Bell X-1A. In doing so, Murray reported that he could detect the curvature of the Earth from the apex of his trajectory. The USAF/Bell X-1A was designed… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Mach 4 Landing Gear Deployment

Fifty-five years ago this month, the fabled North American X-15 hit a speed of 3,590 mph (Mach 5.23) in a flight that reached an altitude of 103,300 feet. While decelerating through Mach 4.2, the nose gear of the aircraft unexpectedly deployed in flight. The 114th powered flight of the legendary… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

Reaching the Summit

Fifty-six years ago today, NASA chief research pilot Joseph A. Walker flew X-15 Ship No. 3 (S/N 56-6672) to an altitude of 354,200 feet. This flight would mark the highest altitude ever achieved by the famed hypersonic research vehicle. Carried aloft by NASA’s NB-52A (S/N 52-0003) mothership, Walker’s X-15 was… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History

8 Days in a Garbage Can

Fifty-four years ago this month, NASA astronauts Leroy Gordon “Gordo” Cooper and Charles M. “Pete” Conrad set a new spaceflight endurance record during the flight of Gemini 5. It was the third of ten (10) missions in the historic Gemini spaceflight series. The motto for the mission was “Eight Days… Read More

Posted in Aerospace, History
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