When you walk into National Air & Space Museum, on the Mall in Washington D.C., you look up and to the right and see the orange yellow aircraft. Most Airplane Geeks know that is the BELL XS-1. The XS-1 or X-1 was the first aircraft, to officially, go faster than the speed of sound. Glamorous Glennis, 46-062, besides being the first aircraft to go to Mach 1, also has another secret record most people do not know. It’s most famous pilot Brigadier General Charles “Chuck” Yeager also shares that record with 6062.
After 103 flights of the three X-1s it was decided that a conventional take off would be tested.
6062 was given up rated tires, strengthened the landing gear and new breaks. It also was fueled very precisely to maintain the aircrafts balance. The aircraft was only given 50% of the fuel that was the normal load.
The X-1 was towed to the end of the runway. Yeager lit all four of the XLR-11 chambers and release breaks. 6062 roared down the runway pulled up and climbed like the rocket it was. 90 seconds later the aircraft had reached 23,000 feet and Mach 1.03. Yeager then shut off the motors and began the glide back to Muroc Dry Lake, dumping the remainder of the fuel.
While the flight lasted less than ten minutes its still is still on the record books. That flight is the only flight of a rocket powered X Plane that began and ended with a conventional take off.
Guenther, Ben, and J. D. Miller. Bell X-1 Variants. Arlington, TX: Aerofax, 1988. 8. Print.
"List of X-1 Flights." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Oct. 2012. Web. 05 Jan. 2013.