Tuesday, November 13, 2012

10 Famous X-Planes

By : Ahsan Mukhtar and Assad

Aviation industry has grown rapidly in the past couple of decades. Some experiments turned into huge leaps of innovation in aviation industry. Providing such assistances X-plane projects were one such example. These X-planes are series of experimental United States airplanes, helicopters and rockets used for the testing and evaluation of new technologies and aerodynamic concepts in aviation industry. Most of these X-planes have been operated by the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA), often in conjunction with the United States Air Force.

Bell X-1 was the first X plane built and was the greatest project ever done to reveal and analyze the sound barrier. Charles Elwood was the first person to break the sound barrier in his Bell X-1 aircraft on October 14, 1947.

X-15′s primary function was to fly at hyper sonic speed and fly high above the Earth’s atmosphere. It was designed to study the effects of high speeds and altitudes on an astronaut. It currently holds the official world record for the fastest speed ever reached by a manned rocket powered aircraft.

X-31 is a U.S-German research project designed to test fighter thrust vectoring technology. Thrust vectoring is technology which enables the aircraft to change its direction using the exhaust thrust thus increasing aircraft maneuverability.

X-29 was built by Grumman and was used to test forward-swept wing, canard control surfaces, and other novel aircraft technologies. Due to intense aerodynamic instability, fly-by-wire was equipped in the aircraft to carry out the experiments.

X-37 was designed to be an orbital spacecraft. X-37 is based on the space shuttle principle and is being experimented by U.S.A.F as an unmanned aircraft. X-37 is a drone spacecraft and is equipped with autonomous flight controls which enable the aircraft to make decisions on its own.

X-3 aircraft was built by Douglas for US Air Force in order to carry out experimental flights with a slender fuselage and a long tapered nose. The first flight of X-3 took place on 15th October 1952 and was piloted by Douglas test pilot William Bridgeman.

Designed and built by Bell Aircraft, X-5 was the first aircraft capable of changing the sweep of its wings in flight. X-5 did its first flight on 20th June 1951 and retired in 1955 after 200 flights.

XF-92 was built by Convair and was the first aircraft with delta wings. The delta wing’s thin airfoil cross section, low weight and structural strength made this a good combination for a supersonic airplane.

The X-35 was an experimental aircraft developed by Lockheed Martin for the Joint Strike Fighter Program. The F-35A is the smallest, lightest version, and is intended primarily to replace the U.S. Air Force’s aging F-16 Fighting Falcons and A-10 Thunderbolt IIs.

The Boeing X-45 unmanned combat air vehicle is a concept demonstrator for a next generation of completely autonomous military aircraft, developed by Boeing’s Phantom Works.

Source : http://listphobia.com

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