is the 6th title in Osprey Publishing LTD
's series X-Planes
. Modelers and enthusiasts of America's post-war aerospace research - and perhaps the book or movie The Right Stuff
- will be thrilled with the amount of technical and other data and information presented by author Peter E. Davies. Adam Tooby provides original artwork. This 80-page book is catalogued with Osprey's short code XPL 6
and as ISBN 97814728195
. The book is available in three formats: paperback; PDF; ePUB.
Even before the spectacular success of its X-1 rocket-powered aircraft in breaking the ‘sound barrier', the adventurous Bell Aircraft Corporation was already pushing ahead with a parallel project to build a second aircraft capable of far higher speeds. The X-2 (or Model 52) explored the equally uncertain technology of swept-back wings. Now common in modern conventional fighter aircraft, the Bell X-2 was revolutionary in using this type of airframe to probe Mach 3 and research the effects of extreme aerodynamic friction heat on airframes.
Although both X-2s were destroyed in crashes after only 20 flights, killing two test pilots, the knowledge gained from the programme was invaluable in developing aircraft that could safely fly at such speeds. Using stunning artwork and historical photographs, this is the story of the plane that ultimately made the Lockheed Blackbird and Concorde possible. - Osprey
Many of America's classic X-Plane programs began and ended before I was born. This X-2 history looks at this significant aircraft of an era of flight test both golden yet severe (almost a quarter of the initial cadre died in the first year) including Conceptual Design, Preliminary Design, and Detail Design.
Author Davies brings the Bell X-2
to us through 80 pages of seven chapters:
POWER AND PILOT PROTECTION
ALOFT AT LAST
TRIUMPH BEFORE TRAGEDY
THINGS THAT ARE DANGEROUS
Author Davies presents the story of this triple-sonic research craft in a comprehensive, well organized and easy to follow text. Technical descriptions and first-hand accounts enrich the content. General Frank Everest described a mission:
You flew very, very gently and did the best you could while flying like a bat out of hell. Things happened so darn fast. If you got up to an altitude where you wanted to push over to get maximum speed your altimeter indication was lagging behind, so you started your push over at about an indicated 5,000ft below where you r real altitude was to compensate. You didn't want to push over too suddenly because you could 'unport' the [propellant] tanks where they fed into the rocket engine.
Two X-2s only managed 20 powered flights. This book narrates the long, exciting, but low intensity life of this aircraft.
preflights the purpose of the X-2. During World War II the United States became abundantly aware that Germany and Britain were far ahead of them with high speed flight. When most of the fastest aircraft in the world were well below 500mph, USAAF was planning for Mach 3 flight.
details Allied and Nazi Germany research projects, and their influence - direct and coincidental - on the X-2. Preliminary contracts for the X-2 and conferences about the X-2 are detailed. Sub-chapters include:
Power and Protection
Structure and Control
Hitching A Ride
describes a host of technical issues of the X-2. Six pages describe the rocket engines which took years of development before the first powered flight. Sub-chapters include:
The NACA Pack
Loading and unloading fuel
Flight suites and other physiological equipment is discussed. The background of German liquid-fuel rocket aircraft and hypergolic fuels is included.
Aloft At Last
narrates the unpowered flight ops of the X-2. It also recounts the catastrophe of an X-2 exploding in the bomb bay of its EB-50A mother ship. Why the X-2 exploded was a mystery for years and the text presents the eventual discovery of the reason, and the steps taken to correct the flaw.
Things That Are Dangerous
recounts exploration of the thermal barrier through the demise of the program.
sums up the problems and successes of the X-2 and yet how X-2 data helped further research aircraft programs.
Photographs, Art, Graphics
An amazing gallery of photographs support the text. Color photography was prevalent during the X-2 era and composes a large ratio of images in this book. A few photos that are particularly notable to me are:
1. Multi-color stripes on the wing to indicate aerodynamic heating
2. Over-the-shoulder view of the plane gliding back to landing
3. Crash-landing scenes
4. Close-ups of heat blistered and burned paint
5. Mating X-2s to mother ships by jacking the carrier up with 20-ton rams
This selection of photos should be interesting to modelers, especially those interested in aircraft weathering.
a. Bell X-2 Cockpit
: keyed to 51 components.
b. Inside the Bell X-2
: cutaway profile keyed to 42 components.
c. Apt's Last Flight
: two-page centerfold of X-2's last flight.
d. Bell X-2 46-674, Edwards AFB, California, June 1956
: three-view with Tempilaq temperature-sensitive paint and markings for heat research.
e. Bell X-2 46-675, Edwards AFB, California, October 19, 1952
: two profiles of 6675 demonstrating the attitude of the aircraft in flight and upon landing.
i. Shaded callout box presenting a biography of test pilot Iven Carl Kincheloe
ii. Shaded callout box presenting a biography of test pilot Frank Kendall Everest Jr
iii. Shaded callout box presenting a biography of test pilot Jean Leroy Ziegler
should be popular with modelers and enthusiasts of America's post-war aerospace research. The book contains a great deal of technical and other data and information about this important X-plane. The text is supported by an amazing gallery of photographs and color artwork.
I have nothing meaningful to criticism about this book, and recommend it.
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