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Various "X-Planes" from, "The Golden Age of Test Flight."
Please be sure to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page, and click on the images for a larger display.

The NACA X-1 with drop plane
Fred Ascani, Bob Cardenas, Robert Champine, Scott Crossfield, John Griffith and Pete Everest

X – 1

The X-1 (originally designated the XS-1 for Experimental Supersonic), a rocket-powered research aircraft, was a bullet-shaped airplane that was built by the Bell Aircraft Corporation, Buffalo, New York, for the US Army Air Forces and the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The mission of the X-1s was to investigate the transonic speed range (speeds from just below to just above the speed of sound) and, if possible, to break the "sound barrier." There were three X-1s built with the designations as follows: X-1-1 (46-062), X-1-2 (46-063), X-1-3 (46-064), that were flown by eighteen pilots from 1946 to 1951.

Photo Gallery



X-4 on ramp
Ascani, Butchart, Crossfield, Everest, Griffith, Tucker, Cooper and Yeager

X – 4

The X-4, a single-place, swept-wing, and semi-tailless airplane designed and built by Northrop Aircraft, Inc. Two X-4s were built to investigate the value of this configuration at transonic speeds. The Ship 1 (46-676) maiden flight was on Dec. 16, 1948, and proved to be a mechanically unsound airplane, but Ship 2 (46-677) was very reliable. While being tested from 1950 to 1953, the semi-tailless configuration exhibited inherent longitudinal stability problems (porpoising) as it approached the speed of sound, but the data derived from this research aircraft was important in the development of other high-performance designs such as the X-15.

Photo Gallery

Flight Chronology

X-2 plane just after drop
Frank "Pete" Everest, "The Fastest Man Alive," flew the X-2 rocket plane to Mach 2.87 or 1,957 mph

X – 2

The X-2 was a swept-wing, rocket-powered aircraft designed to fly faster than three times the speed of sound. Built by Bell Aircraft Co. for NACA (now NASA) and the U.S. Air Force, it was flown to investigate the problems of aerodynamic heating as well as stability and control effectiveness at high altitudes and speeds in excess of Mach 3.

There were two X-2s built, constructed of K-monel steel, with an ejectable nose capsule rather than an ejection seat, and skid type landing gear to make room for more fuel. It was air-launched from a modified Boeing B-50 Superfortress bomber.

Photo Gallery



X-5 in flight
Fred Ascani, Scott Crossfield and Pete Everest.

X – 5

The X-5 was tested from 1951 until 1955 at the NACA High-Speed Flight Research Station. Built and initially flight tested by Bell Aircraft Corporation, the first X-5 flight was on June 20, 1951. The X-5 was the first aircraft capable of variably sweeping its wings in flight and helped our understanding of wing-sweep angles of 20, 45, and 60 degrees at subsonic and transonic speeds. The X-5 Ship #1 (50-1838) was flown by NACA from 1952 to late 1955. The X-5 Ship #2 (50-1839) was operated only by Bell and the Air Force and was lost in a spin accident in 1953

Photo Gallery

Flight Chronology

X-3 on dry lakebed
Frank "Pete" Everest and Chuck Yeager have signed this picture of the X-3 on the Edwards drylakebed.

X – 3

The X-3 (49-2892) was manufactured by the Douglas Aircraft Company and investigated the design features of an aircraft suitable for sustained supersonic speeds, which included the first use of titanium in major airframe components. It was delivered to the NACA High-Speed Flight Station in August of 1954. Although it made some significant contributions to knowledge about "inertial coupling", a tendency to diverge from the flight path at near supersonic speeds, the X-3 never lived up to it's expectations as a Mach 2 aircraft.

Photo Gallery

Flight Chronology

XF-92A in flight
Fred Ascani and Scott Crossfield have signed this image of the first Delta Wing Jet

X F-92A

The Convair XF-92A aircraft was powered by a Allison J-33-A turbo jet engine with an afterburner, and was unique in having America's first delta wing. The delta wing's large area (425 sq. ft), thin airfoil cross section, low weight, and structural strength made this a great combination for a supersonic airplane. The Air Forces had intended this aircraft to be a testbed for a first all-weather interceptor.

Photo Gallery

X-43A carried by B-52B 008 on 11-16-2004
B-52B 008 piloted by Gordon Fullerton and Frank Batteas

X-43A drops away from B-52B
Record breaking flight reached nearly Mach 9.8 or 7,000 mph

This cover was flown aboard "Balls 8"
Cover 23/50 flown for the November 16, 2004 record breaking X-43A flight.

These covers were flown aboard "Balls 8"
These covers were flown abord the two successful X-43A flights

This flag was flown aboard "Balls 8"
This flag was flown for the November 16, 2004 record breaking X-43A flight.

X - 43A



NASA's X-43A research vehicle screamed into the record books on Tuesday, November 16th, 2004, demonstrating an air-breathing engine can fly at nearly 10 times the speed of sound. Preliminary data from the scramjet-powered research vehicle show its revolutionary engine worked successfully at nearly Mach 9.8, or 7,000 mph, as it flew at about 110,000 feet.

The high-risk, high-payoff flight, originally scheduled for Nov. 15, took place in restricted airspace over the
Pacific Ocean northwest of Los Angeles. The flight was the last and fastest of three unpiloted flight tests in NASA's Hyper-X Program. The program's purpose is to explore an alternative to rocket power for space access vehicles.


This was also the last production test flight of the famed B-52B 008, piloted by astronaut Gordon Fullerton and co-piloted by Frank Batteas.


Note the set of two covers and the flown flag were acquired from Tony Landis. Tony stated that there were 20 of these Mach 7 covers flown, 50 of these Mach 10 covers, and about 24 of the flags flown.





Mike Machat #108/1,000

This piece has been a lot of fun. I originally bought it in Lancaster at the Gathering of Eagles in 2001. That night I started adding signatures, and I am still going. My inspiration is Mike Quinn. His version of this print is phenomenal.


Signatures are: Chuck Yeager, Vance Brand, Bob Crippen, Bob Gilliland, Fitz Fulton, Joe Engle, Bob Cardenas, Joe Cotton, Pete Knight, Bill Dana, Scott Crossfield, John Griffith, Charlie Bock, Al White, Bob Hoover, Bob Titus, Hank Beaird, Bill Weaver, Joe Rogers, JJ Quinn, Bill Campbell, Thomas Morgenfeld, Rogers Smith, Richard Truly, Gordon Fullerton, Stan Butchart, Jim Eastham, Doug Shane, Ken Dyson, Johnny Armstrong, Bob Hoey, Fred Stoliker, Doug Benjamin, Don Mallick, Jack Allavie, Wilbert Pearson, Ed Schneider, Dick Thomas, Mike Melvill, Brian Binnie, Louis Setter, Harry Andonian, Bob Riedenauer, Tom McMurtry, Don Sorlie, Jimmy Doolittle III, Merv Evenson, Fred Knox, Ken Chilstrom, Ray McPerson, John Smyth, Jack Lousma, Paul Weitz, Joe Kerwin, Walt Cunningham, Rusty Schweickart, Scott Carpenter, Alan Bean, Buzz Aldrin, Gene Cernan, Charlie Duke, Dave Scott and Edgar Mitchell.


All signatures are in-person and this will keep growing.