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Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis - - National Air and Space Museum

Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis achieved the first manned supersonic flight in 1947. Captain Charles “Chuck” Yeager piloted USAF aircraft #46-062, nicknamed Glamorous Glennis for his wife. The aeroplane was drop-launched from the bomb bay of a modified B-29 Superfortress bomber and reached Mach 1.06 or 700 miles per hour (1,100 km/h). Following burnout of the engine, the plane glided to a landing on the dry lake bed.

The Bell X-1 was a rocket engine–powered aircraft, conceived in 1944 and designed and built in 1945. The X-1, piloted by Chuck Yeager, was the first manned aeroplane to exceed the speed of sound in level flight and was the first of the X-planes, a series of experimental planes for testing of new technologies and often kept secret.


This X-1-1, Air Force Serial Number 46-062, was flown to Washington, D.C., beneath a B-29 and presented to what was then the American National Air Museum in 1950. Its colour is “International Orange”, a color used in the aerospace industry to set objects apart from their surroundings, similar to safety orange, but deeper and with a more reddish tone.


Essential Facts:

  • Title:                    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis
  • Date:                    1945
  • Crew:                   One
  • Length:                30 ft 11 in (9.4 m)
  • Wingspan:          28 ft (8.5 m)
  • Height:                10 ft (3.3 m)
  • Loaded weight: 12,225 lb (5,545 kg)
  • Powerplant:       one × Reaction Motors XLR-11-RM3 liquid-propellant rocket,
  • Max speed:         957 mph (Mach 1.26) (1,541 km/h)
  • Range:                 Five minutes (powered endurance)
  • Museum:             National Air and Space Museum


“Isn’t it astonishing that all these secrets have been preserved for so many years just so we could discover them!” Orville Wright



Photo Credit: 1)By Joyofmuseums (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons 2) Ad Meskens [Attribution, CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons