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Bell Aircraft X-1 – Dale’s Daily Data

The Bell X-1, first plane to break the sounder barrier (Getty Images)

His name was Chuck Yeager – an Air Force captain who flew 64 combat missions over Europe.  He shot
down 13 German planes and was himself shot down over France, but escaped capture with the assistance of the French underground.  But after the war, he was among several volunteers chosen to test-fly the experimental X-1 rocket plane, built by Bell Aircraft Company.

I just recently told you about the Bell Aircraft plant in Wheatfield.  The X-1 was designed and built there.  It was the first plane intended to fly faster than the speed of sound.  For years, scientists believed that a plane couldn’t ever go that fast.  The theory was the pressure and drag would tear any aircraft apart.  But it all changed when Yeager flew the X-1 over Rogers Dry Lake in Southern California.

The X-1 was nicknamed Glamorous Glennis with a fuselage modeled after a 50-caliber bullet.  It was lifted to an altitude of 25,000 feet by a B-29 bomber and released through the bomb bay.  It rose to 40,000 feet and flew at 662 miles an hour (the sound barrier at that altitude).

Because the project was so top secret, what Yeager was able to do wasn’t announced until 9 months later.  It happened on this date in 1947 – the day man finally exceeded the sound barrier for the first time.

SOURCE: History Channel

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