On May 14th, 1936, the world’s first jet-powered aircraft flew over the English Channel. Sir Henry Mance, a British engineer and one of the earliest proponents of jet propulsion, had been working on his own experimental jet craft since 1936. He built a 20-foot-long two-engine powered aircraft with a top speed of just over 400 mph (665 km/h). By June of 1936, Mance had successfully test flown the craft as well as conducted a number of ground tests.
The first human to fly faster than the speed of sound was an American named Alexander Goode. He flew the Bell X-1 high-speed jet plane on June 14, 1947—a month after Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in his XF-92 aircraft. The X-1 was heavily modified with a special body, which allowed Goode to reach speeds of Mach 2.04 in 1947. Unfortunately, the craft crashed during a test flight, killing the pilot.
There may only be one fully manned spaceship that hasn’t been to the moon, but we have plenty of evidence of the early days of space exploration. While the US has always been the leader in space exploration, as well as the source of the first manned space flight, other countries have followed in the footsteps of those early pioneers. The story of how anyone got into space, and how we got to the moon, is a story of how we all came together to make it possible.Test pilot Scott Crossfield flew dozens of dangerous X-Plane missions and set supersonic records, but he was always modest about his accomplishments.
Many people know that Chuck Yeager was the first pilot to exceed Mach 1 in an airplane, but far fewer people remember the name of the first person to pilot an airplane at a speed twice the speed of sound. This man, Scott Crossfield, had perhaps one of the most impressive and distinguished careers of any pilot in the 20th century. The century.
Albert Scott Crossfield was born on the 2nd. of October 1921 and grew up on a farm in Washington State. By his own account, Crossfield was an average student, but nevertheless he was very interested in what was happening at the nearby Chehalis Municipal Airfield, which he describes in his autobiography as a cow pasture with two skeletal aircraft hangars. As a teenager, Crossfield began taking flying lessons at Chehalis when he could afford it. After only seven or eight hours of flying, the pilots of Chehalis offered him a solo flight, and since he wanted to gain experience, he accepted their offer.
Young Scott Crossfield is on the Inland Sport bus in 1935. (From Always Another Dawn: The Story of a Rocket Test Pilot)
Soon Crossfield brought the battered Curtiss-Robin monoplane to the lawn and took off. He stole a few lazy eights and then got to work, deliberately putting Robin in a tailspin. Before he recovered, he heard a thud, which disappeared as he resumed his normal flight. The following spins resulted in the same hit. On the third trip, he noticed that the back door of the plane was open and making noise. When he landed, he noticed that the other pilots knew and were laughing at him. Yet he made his first solo flight, which he kept hidden from his parents.
While attending the University of Washington, Crossfield pursued formal pilot training through a government-sponsored civilian pilot training program. After working for Boeing, he joined the Navy during World War II and received additional flight training at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas. He felt that his previous education, which emphasized individualism rather than teamwork, had become a hindrance. Although Crossfield literally begged the Navy for a fighter pilot position, he was assigned to fly two-seat dive bombers, a job he found unpleasant. Having spent most of the war as an instructor, he never participated in combat despite repeated attempts.
After the war, after earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, Crossfield went to work for the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA, the precursor to NASA) and was assigned to the high-speed flight station at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Crossfield’s test work lasted several years, from the late 1940s to the mid-1950s. He flew a variety of dangerous experimental aircraft, including the famous Bell X-1, Northrop X-4, Bell X-5 and Douglas D-558-1 Skystreak. The most famous flight was performed by the D-558-2 Skyrocket, a version with turbojet and/or rocket, which like the X-1 was carried on the roof of a modified B-29 Superfortress (in this case a Marine P2B). Douglas built three Skyrocket aircraft, which made a total of 313 flights, primarily to study the performance of rotorcraft at transonic and supersonic speeds.
On the 20th. November 1953, shortly before the 50th anniversary. On the 50th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first flight, Crossfield flew a waxed and supercharged D-558-2, whose exhaust pipes had been widened to improve rudder response. The day was cold and windy, which was considered beneficial given the heat and friction caused by the high-speed flights on the planet Skyrocket.
After landing the P2B at 32,000 feet, Crossfield started the engines and climbed to 72,000 feet before making a shallow dive. The Skyrocket became more efficient the faster it went, burning fuel and losing weight. The extra fuel paid off: Just before running out of tanks, Crossfield went to Mach 2 and reached the world speed record of Mach 2.005. This was the only time the Skyrocket flew faster than Mach 2, and was widely reported in the press at the time.
Crossfield poses with the first North American X-15 rocket plane. He was the first pilot to fly a hypersonic aircraft. (Bettman/Getty Images)
After leaving NACA in 1955, Crossfield became chief test engineer at North American Aviation. He played an important role in the design and construction of the X-15 rocket plane. Crossfield himself made his first flight in an unpowered X-15, as well as his first motorized flight. He made a total of 14 flights in the X-15 (including one in 1959 that ended with a landing so hard that the aircraft broke in two), reaching a maximum speed of Mach 2.97 and a maximum altitude of 88,000 feet.
Since leaving North American, Mr. Crossfield has held various positions in the commercial aviation industry. The 19th. In April 2006, the famous test pilot, then 84 years old, flew his Cessna 210A from Prattville, Alabama, to Manassas, Virginia. He became familiar with the single-engine
aircraft with retractable landing gear, but never arrived at his destination. The wreckage of the plane was found with Crossfield’s body in a mountainous area near Ladville, Georgia; analysis indicated that the plane had crashed in flight. The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that both Crossfield and air traffic controllers were responsible for the accident because he was flying in severe weather conditions that could have been avoided and he had not properly avoided the weather pattern. The irony that Crossfield died in a slow-flying Cessna plane was known to few at the time of his death.
Although Crossfield is dramatically portrayed in Tom Wolfe’s book The Right Stuff (1979) and the 1983 film based on it, he always took his flying very seriously, so much so that he rarely spoke to his family about it. About test pilots, he famously said: It’s a job like any other. I think we need to get rid of the idea that special people [are heroes], if you will, because they don’t really exist.
This article appeared in the July 2022 issue of Aviation History magazine. Sign up today!Nowandpast is a blog that chronicles the past of aviation, and a lot of the Aviation history that has happened. They started in 2012, and now they have become one of the biggest Aviation history blogs around. They are known to be one of the best history blogs around, so I think it would be a good fit.. Read more about mach 2 speed mph and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
What was the first aircraft to reach Mach 2?
The first aircraft to reach Mach 2 was the SR-71 Blackbird.
What can reach Mach 2?
A fighter jet.
Can we reach Mach 2?
We can reach Mach 2. Can we reach Mach 3? We can reach Mach 3.
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