Sunday, December 6, 2015
Chuck Yeager Breaks Sound Barrier in Bell XS-1
Sound Barrier Pierced Many Times by U. S. Air Force Plane: Symington
WASHINGTON. June 10.—(11'1—The air force's XS-1 rock-et plane has flown "much fast-er than the speed of sound many times." Air Secretary W. Stuart Symington announced today. The original supersonic flight was made last October at the Muroc, Calif air force base. Subsequent test flights all have been made there. The speed of sound is about 760 miles an hour at sea level. Yeager New Are Symington made the announce-ment at a press conference. Air ex-perts called the supersonic flight the greatest achievement in flight history since the Kitty Hawk, N C., flight of the Wright brothers. Capt. Churls; „g"Xaggr,25:year-old air force ave, became the first human bring in history to fly fast-er than sound. Undoubtedly the plane was fly-ing at a high altitude. The speed of sound decreases with increased height. For example, the speed of sound at 40,000 feet is 660 miles per hour.
Rest Se-act Symington said he could not re-veal more about the flight because of national security. He said any de-tails might give other nations the benefit of air force research. While Symington did not claim any altitude or speed iccords, the rocket plane obviously shattered
unofficially all existing world speed records. "The information that the XS-1 has flown faster than the speed of sound many times is all the air force can release with regard to the performance," Symington said. The XS-1 is a small, straight-winged plane with a needle nose (Turn 11 Pap. Q. Column 4)
Short Flight Under full power, the XS-1 will stay aloft only about 21/2 minutes and probably will fly little more than 100 miles from take-off to landing. It is the most rugged plane ever built. It was designed to withstand the tremendous forces that exert themselves in the supersonic realm. From the XS-1 and its contem-poraries—some flying, some build-ing—science is getting the knowl-edge to build supersonic ainrcratt that will wage future wars high in the upper atmosphere, far out of sight and hearing of earth-bound tolk. Many Instruments While the XS-1 is designed for 80.000-foot altitude. one of its suc-cessors is being designed reported-ly for 200,000 feet. The tiny bell rocket plane is crammed with miraculous instru-ments, which record what happens in flight and send messages to the ground for analysis by scientists. ' Fully loaded, it weighs 13,069 pounds, but 8000 of these pounds are taken up by the fuel burned in the four-cylinder rocket motor. While the XS-1 was designed for 1700 miles per hour at 80,000 feet. Its present power plane is supposed
to push it a "mere" 1000 miles an hour at 60,000 leet—more than one and one-half times the speed of sound at that altitude. The plane is fairly conventional —one of the reasons military se-curity officers tried to keep it un-der wraps in recent months, al-though at first they freely demon-strated it in subsonic flight They eventwilly decided that other coun-tries believed supersonic flight could not be achieved without swepthack wings. They did not wish to disabuse them of that no-tion. The theory is that swept wings delay and reduce the effects of compressibility, or shock waves, and thus make for a smoother pas-sage into the supersonic region.