This is a highly collectable Bell X-1 Rocket Research Plane model, signed by the famous pilot Charles “Chuck” Yeager. 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 700 miles per hour, or Mach 1.06 at an altitude of 43,000 feet.
The Bell X-1 Rocket Research Plane was the first airplane to fly faster than the speed of sound. Yeager's first test launch of the plane, named the Glamorous Glennis after Yeager’s wife, took place on Aug. 29, 1947. Subsequent flight attempts followed, increasing flight speed by two-hundredths of a Mach number. Reaching .86 Mach on the sixth flight, the X-1 began to experience turbulence from the shock wave formed by the compression of the air. On the seventh flight, at Mach .94, Yeager lost the ability to control the plane's elevator and the shock waves caused the nose to pitch up and down. Another pilot suggested using the horizontal stabilizer to correct the problem, and on-the- ground tests seemed to suggest the alternate method of control would work.
On Oct. 14, 1947, Yeager and the X-1 were dropped from a B-29, and quickly accelerated away. When the controls locked up, he successfully used the new horizontal stabilizer to keep the plane stable at an altitude of 43,000 feet. As the plane accelerated to a speed of 700 mph or Mach 1.06, controllers on the ground heard the first sonic boom. The plane remained supersonic for approximately 20 seconds.
A bullet-shaped plane, the Bell X-1 was created in collaboration between NASA's Langley Research Center and the U.S. military. It was modeled after a .50 caliber machine gun bullet, an object known to be stable as it exceeded the speed of sound. According to NASA, “the X-1 was the first high-speed aircraft built purely for aviation research purposes.” The original aircraft was painted bright orange to make it more visible against any clouds or blue sky for the ground- tracking observers.
Released by Danbury Mint, this model Bell X-1 is presented on a black wooden base, tilted at an angle. Signed by Yeager on the wing, in black felt pen ink. Base includes an aluminum plaque at bottom, with technical data regarding the aircraft and the pilot. Model is in excellent condition and measures approximately 13"L x 11"W x 11"H.
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