Bell X-1

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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    Bell X-1 Vertical and Horizontal Stabilizer

    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. Highlighted in this image are the vertical and horizontal stabilizers of the Bell X-1.

    5 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

    8 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis Tire

    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. Highlighted in this image is a tire of the Bell X-1.

    10 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

    11 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

    12 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

    13 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

    14 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

    15 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

    16 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

    17 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

    18 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

    19 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

    20 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

    21 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

    22 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

    23 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

    24 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

    25 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

    26 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

    27 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

    28 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

    32 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

    33 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

    34 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

    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). Highlighted in this image is the cockpit of the Bell X-1.

    35 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

    36 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

    38 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

    39 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

    40 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

    41 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

    42 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

    43 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

    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). Highlighted in this image is the cockpit of the Bell X-1.

    44 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

    45 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

    46 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

    47 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

    50 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

    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). Highlighted in this image is the cockpit of the Bell X-1.

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    Bell X-1 Engine

    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. Highlighted in this image is the nose of the Bell X-1.

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    Bell X-1

    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.

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    Bell X-1 Cockpit

    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. Highlighted in this image is the cockpit of the Bell X-1.

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    Bell X-1 Cockpit

    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. Highlighted in this image is the cockpit of the Bell X-1.

    76 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

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    Bell X-1 Nose

    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. Highlighted in this image is the nose of the Bell X-1.

    80 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Nose

    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. Highlighted in this image is the nose of the Bell X-1.

    81 of 108

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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

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    Bell X-1 Lifted on B-29

    To conserve fuel, the X-1 was flown up to 7,620 meters (25,000 ft) and then dropped from the bomb bay of a modified Boeing B-29 bomber.

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    Bell X-1 Engine Black Betsy

    The Bell X-1 used a 6,000-pound-thrust, liquid-propellant rocket engine from Reaction Motors, Inc. also known as Black Betsy.

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    Yeager in the Cockpit of the Bell X-1

    Chuck Yeager in the cockpit of the Bell X-1. 

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    Visit from Chuck Yeager

    Charles "Chuck" Yeager visited the Museum in October 2015. Here he poses with Museum staff in front of the the Bell X-1, Glamorous Glennis, the aircraft he piloted in 1947 to become the first man to exceed the speed of sound.

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

    On October 14, 1947, Air Force Captain Charles E. Yeager flew this experimental Bell X-1 on the first flight faster than the speed of sound.  He reached a speed of 1127 kilometers per hour (700 miles per hour), or Mach 1.06 at an altitude of 13,000 meters (43,000 feet). The Bell X-1 is shown here in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall at the Museum in Washington, DC.

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    Chuck Yeager in Bell X-1

    Capt. Charles E. "Chuck" Yeager poses in cockpit of Glamorous Glennis at Muroc Air Force Base. It was placed on display in 1950 and in 1975 moved to the new Museum. On his visits to the Museum, Yeager frequently complained the aircraft had the wrong paint scheme. A Museum staff painter restored the paint scheme to match how it appeared the day the sound barrier was broken.

    Featured in National Air and Space Museum: An Autobiography 

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    Cockpit of the Bell X-1

    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). Highlighted in this image is the cockpit of the Bell X-1.

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    Bell X-1 Cockpit

    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). Highlighted in this image is the cockpit of the Bell X-1.

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    Bell X-1 Cockpit

    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.

    91 of 108

    Bell X-1 Cockpit

    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. Highlighted in this image is the cockpit of the Bell X-1.

    92 of 108

    Bell X-1 Cockpit

    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. Highlighted in this image is the cockpit of the Bell X-1.

    93 of 108

    Bell X-1 Nose

    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. Highlighted in this image is the nose of the Bell X-1.

    94 of 108

    Bell X-1 Nose

    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. Highlighted in this image is the nose of the Bell X-1.

    95 of 108

    Bell X-1 Engine

    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. Highlighted in this image is the nose of the Bell X-1.

    96 of 108

    Bell X-1 Engine Black Betsy

    The Bell X-1 used a 6,000-pound-thrust, liquid-propellant rocket engine from Reaction Motors, Inc. also known as Black Betsy. On October 14, 1947, flying the Bell X-1, Capt. Charles 'Chuck’ Yeager, USAF, became the first pilot to fly faster than sound.

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    Bell X-1 Vertical and Horizontal Stabilizer

    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. Highlighted in this image are the vertical and horizontal stabilizers of the Bell X-1.

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis

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    Inside of Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis Hatch

    Inside of Bell X-1 hatch showing lever door handle.

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    Rear view of Bell X-1 Engines

    Because no jet engine at that time was powerful enough, the Bell X-1 used a four-chamber XLR-11 rocket engine than produced 26,500 newtons (6,000 lb) of static thrust.  

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    Bell X-1 in Flight

    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis in flight.

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    Bell X-1 Cockpit

    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis cockpit.
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    Bell X-1 in Flight

    The Bell X-1 was initially called the XS-1 for "experimental - supersonic." The designation was later simplified to X-1.  The X-1 program was the first of a series of "X" experimental manned and unmanned projects that continues to this day.

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    Bell X-1 Dropped from B-29 Bomber

    Bell X-1 dropped from B-29 bomber.

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    Bell X-1 Cockpit

    Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis nose and cockpit.
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    Bell X1 Panorama

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Display Status:

This object is on display in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

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.