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.
- 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 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons 2) Ad Meskens [Attribution, CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons