Bell X-1A in flight
The Bell X-1 (the first aircraft to fly solely with the X for experimental designation) was designed to explore the dynamic characteristics of aircraft flying at or faster than the Speed of Sound.[1]

First GenerationEdit

Three airframes, with US Air Force serials 46-062, 46-063 and 46-064, were built under the terms of contract
Bell X-1 diagram-1-
W33-038-ac-9183, which had been signed on March 16 1945. The three aircraft, which originally carried the XS (Experimental Supersonic) designation, would be used to explore the transonic speed envelope wherein an object transitions from subsonic to supersonic flight, with emphasis on the affects on stability and control experienced during supersonic flight.[1]

Significant flightsEdit

Flight number Date Aircraft used Pilot Remarks
001 January 25 1946 46-062 Jack Woolams, Bell First X-1 flight
011 October 11 1946 46-063 Chalmers 'Slick' Goodlin, Bell [2] First X-1 flight from Muroc[3]. First flight with aircraft #2
015 December 9 1946 46-063 Goodlin First powered flight of X-1 program. Aircraft reached Mach 0.75 (510mph) and 35,000ft
038 August 6 1947 46-062 Captain Charles Elwood 'Chuck' Yeager, USAF First Air Force flight of X-1 programme
050 October 14 1947 46-062 Yeager First Supersonic flight by a manned aircraft - speed of Mach 1.06 (700mph) and altitude of 45,000 ft
074 March 10 1948 46-063 Herbert Hoover, NACA First supersonic flight by civilian pilot - Mach 1.065 (703mph) and 40,000ft
077 March 26 1948 46-062 Yeager Fastest flight in First Generation X-1 - Mach 1.45 (957mph) and 50,000ft
105 January 5 1949 46-062 Yeager Only conventional ground take off by X-1 design. Flight conducted to test performance of an X-1 type aircraft following a runway take-off. Aircraft reaches 23,000ft just over 90 seconds after take off.
124 August 8 1949 46-062 Major Frank Everest, USAF Highest flight in First Generation X-1 - 71,902ft
136 May 12 1950 46-062 Yeager Final flight of aircraft #1, made to gain footage for Howard Hughes filom Jet Pilot[4]
150 July 20 1951 46-064 Jospeh Cannon, Bell Sole completed flight using aircraft #3

Second GenerationEdit

Significant flightsEdit

Flight number Date Aircraft used Pilot Outcome


  1. 1.0 1.1 Miller, Jay. 2001. Chapter 3
  2. Took over as X-1 test pilot after death of Woolams, who was killed following crash of modified Bell P-39 Cobra I on August 30 1946
  3. The previous flights had been carried out at Pinecastle Field near Orlando, Florida
  4. according to some sources, 46-062 had Soviet markings added for this flight


Miller, Jay. The X Planes X-1 to X-45. Midland Publishing. 2001. ISBN 1-85780-109-1

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