Bell X-2

1952

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Bell X-2

Two X-2 rocket-powered research aircraft built to explore the problems of transonic and supersonic flight. The second aircraft made the first powered flight on 18 November 1955 but was destroyed in a fatal crash on 27 September 1956 after a flight that had achieved an unprecedented Mach 3.2.

Bell X-2

Specification 
 MODELX-2
 CREW1
 ENGINE1 x Curtiss-Wright XLR25-CW-1 rocket engine, 6804kg
 DIMENSIONS
  Wingspan9.75 m32 ft 0 in
  Length13.41 m44 ft 0 in
  Height4.11 m14 ft 6 in
 PERFORMANCE
  Max. speed3058 km/h1900 mph
  Ceiling38405 m126000 ft

3-View 
Bell X-2A three-view drawing (1274 x 838)

Comments
Bob Horn, e-mail, 19.08.2015 01:27

Notwithstanding the inclination of a Bell "loyalist" to shift the blame, IIRC, the actual cause of the loss of the X-2 after its record-breaking excursion to Mach 3+ was inertial coupling, which might indeed have been avoided by making the fuselage a "wee bit longer" than it was, plus a larger fin and /or ventral stabilizer,and thus providing better longitudinal stability. Try as I might, can't recall any other craft with either a greater fineness ratio eg. F-104, SR-71, or ventral stab, eg. X-15, Mig-25, F-8U,and F-104 (again!) etc., etc.,spinning out of control at high mach numbers!

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Bob Barr, e-mail, 22.04.2012 21:30

I remember that my Dad painted the Bell X-2. I was very proud of him. His name was William Barr.
RWB

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Ernie Gravelle, e-mail, 01.10.2011 05:05

As I recall there were two X2 aircraft built. The first was destroyed during a flight simulation over one of the great lakes. It took the lives of two Bell employees. Am I correct???

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Ernie Gravelle, e-mail, 19.09.2011 17:17

I was a Bell employee and was involved in the X-2 flight test program at EAFB. I will never forget the day that Mel Apt died in that crash. It could have and should have been avoided but for pilot error. Sad but true.

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