During the autumn of 1947, the sleek orange form of the Bell X-1 “Glamorous Glennis” dropped clear of its B-29 mothership and lit its four chambered XLR-11 rocket engine. The flight that followed marked a milestone in aviation history as the X-1 and pilot, Charles “Chuck” Yeager successfully completed the first controlled supersonic flight.
The lives of many pilots had been claimed during World War II by the little understood effects of compressibility on an aircraft as it approached the speed of sound and the X-1 was built for the purpose of investigating this flight regime. With only a vague idea of what to expect, the X-1 test pilots and engineers bravely pushed the speed limit leading to the momentous flight on 14th October 1947. Continue reading