National Air & Space Museum Site Index
X-1 Gallery


The sign accompanying the X-1. It reads

Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis
First Airplane to Fly Faster than the Speed of Sound

On October 14, 1947, the Bell X-1 became the first airplane to fly faster than the speed of sound. Piloted by U.S. Air Force Capt. Charles E. "Chuck" Yeager, the X-1 reached a speed of 1,127 kilometers (700 miles) per hour, Mach 1.06, at an altitude of 13,000 meters (43,000 feet). Yeager named the airplane Glamorous Glennis in tribute to his wife.

Air-launched at an altitude of 7,000 meters (23,000 feet) from the bomb bay of a Boeing B-29, the X-1 used its rocket engine to climb to its test altitude. It flew a total of 78 times, and on March 26, 1948, with Yeager at the controls, it attained a speed of 1,540 kilometers (957 miles) per hour, Mach 1.45, at an altitude of 21,900 meters (71,900 feet). This was the highest velocity and altitude reached by a manned airplane up to that time.

Transferred from the U.S. Air Force

Wingpan: 8.5 m (28 ft)
Length: 9.4 m (30 ft 11 in)
Height: 3.3 m (10 ft 10 in)
Weight, gross: 5,557 kg (12,250 lb)
Engine: Reaction Motors, Inc.,
XLR-11-RM-3 (model A6000C4)
Manufacturer: Bell Aircraft Co.

The X-1 is NASM catalog #A19510007000.

Sign describing the X-1 at the National Air & Space Museum.
Time picture taken Tue Jun 19 10:34:44 2007
Location picture taken Second Floor Balcony
Overlooking Milestones of Flight Gallery
National Air & Space Museum
Washington, DC
Picture also in Milestones of Flight
Prev X-1 Gallery Next