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Bell X-1 "Glamorous Glennis"

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This object is on display in the Milestones of Flight exhibition at the National Mall building.


On October 14, 1947, the Bell X-1 became the first airplane to fly faster than the speed of sound. Piloted by U.S. Air Force Capt. Charles E. "Chuck" Yeager, the X-1 reached a speed of 1,127 kilometers (700 miles) per hour, Mach 1.06, at an altitude of 13,000 meters (43,000 feet). Yeager named the airplane "Glamorous Glennis" in tribute to his wife.

Air-launched at an altitude of 7,000 meters (23,000 feet) from the bomb bay of a Boeing B-29, the X-1 used its rocket engine to climb to its test altitude. It flew a total of 78 times, and on March 26, 1948, with Yeager at the controls, it attained a speed of 1,540 kilometers (957 miles) per hour, Mach 1.45, at an altitude of 21,900 meters (71,900 feet). This was the highest velocity and altitude reached by a manned airplane up to that time.

Transferred from the Department of the Air Force

Manufacturer: Bell Aircraft Corp.

Date: 1946

Country of Origin: United States of America

Dimensions: Wingspan: 8.5 m (28 ft)
Length: 9.4 m (30 ft 11 in)
Height: 3.3 m (10 ft 10 in)
Weight, gross: 5,557 kg (12,250 lb)

Materials: Overall: Aluminum

Physical Description:Single engine, single seat, mid-wing rocket plane with international orange paint scheme.

Inventory number: A19510007000

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