Aviation - Avions NASA-Prototypes
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The Bell Aircraft Corporation X-1A (48-1384) is photographed in July 1955 sitting on Rogers Dry Lake at Edwards Air Force Base, California. This view of the left side of the aircraft shows the change to the X-1A canopy from the X-1s (see photo E49-0039 under XS-1)The nose boom carries an angle-of-attack and angle-of-sideslip vane, along with a pitot tube for measuring static and impact pressures. The fuselage length is 35 feet 8 inches, with a wing span of 28 feet. The X-1A was created to explore stability and control characteristics at speeds in excess of Mach 2 and altitudes greater than 90,000 feet.Bell test pilot Jean ''Skip'' Ziegler made six test flights in the X-1A between 14 February and 25 April 1953. Air Force test pilots Maj. Charles ''Chuck'' Yeager and Maj. Arthur ''Kit'' Murray made 18 flights between 21 November 1953 and 26 August 1954. NACA test pilot Joseph Walker made one successful flight on 20 July 1955. During a second flight attempt, on 8 August 1955, an explosion damaged the X-1A shortly before launch. Walker, unhurt, climbed up into the JTB-29A mothership, and the X-1A was jettisoned over the Edwards AFB bombing range.