Skip Top nav bar link group topnav end piece go to business section go to education section go to history section go to gallery section go to news section go to organizations section go to research section go to search engine go to site index topnav end piece
NASA Meatball NASA Dryden X-2 Movies banner
X-2 launch from B-50 mothership

X-2 ground tracking and chase plane images

Movie Number   EM-0029-02
Movie Date   Circa 1955-1956
Formats   160x120 QuickTime Movie (1.6 MB)
320x240 QuickTime Movie (3.2 MB)
480x360 QuickTime Movie (4.8 MB)
640x480 QuickTime Movie (8.0 MB)
X-2 Still photos of this aircraft are available in several resolutions at

This 43 second video clip shows X-2 ground tracking and chase plane images.

The X-2 was a swept-wing aircraft designed to fly three times as fast as the speed of sound. It was flown to investigate the problems of aerodynamic heating and stability and control effectiveness at high speeds and altitudes.

The X-2 was a single-place airplane with wings swept back to 40 degrees. It was 37 ft., 10 in. long, 11 ft. high and had a wingspan of 32.3 ft. It was constructed primarily of steel (K-monel) and incorporated a skid-type main landing gear to make more room for fuel. It had an ejectable nose capsule.

The X-2 was powered by an XLR25-CW-3 two-chambered rocket engine. The Curtiss-Wright-manufactured engine was throttleable and had a thrust of from 2,500 to 15,000 lbs. Two X-2s were made for NACA and the Air Force by Bell Aircraft Co. They were air launched from a B-50 carrier aircraft.

After one X-2 (no. 2 aircraft) was destroyed in an explosion on a captive flight before ever making any powered flights, the other X-2 (no. 1 aircraft) went on to perform as predicted including making a flight on Sept.7, 1956, with Air Force Captain Iven Kincheloe at the controls to an altitude of 126,200 ft. Twenty days later the X-2 program ended when Air Force Captain Milburn Apt piloted the X-2 to its highest speed of 2,094 mph(over three times the speed of sound) before it went out of control and crashed. Captain Apt was fatally injured in the crash.

Keywords   X-2; ground tracking; chase plane; K-monel; Bell Aircraft Co.; Curtiss-Wright; XLR25-CW-3 rocket engine; NACA; Air Force; Edwards Air Force Base; High-Speed Flight Station; B-50; Iven Kincheloe; Milburn Apt; Mach 3; XS-1; XS-2; Jean Ziegler; Frank Walco; ulmer leather gasket; Frank "Pete" Everest; inertial coupling
Skip bottom nav bar link group Business | Education | History | Gallery | News Room | Organizations | Research | Search | Site Index

   Last Modified: August 10, 2004
   Responsible NASA Official: Marty Curry
   Curator: PAO Webmasters

   NASA Website Privacy Statement