Faster than speed of sound
When the sonic wall fell
70 years ago, a plane broke the sound barrier for the first time: US pilot Chuck Yeager flew faster than sound on 14 October 1947 with his Bell X-1.
1,127 kilometres per hour (Mach 1.06) the X-1 reached at the altitude of 13,000 metres during its test flight over the Mojave Desert in California. The small rocket plane had previously been taken into the air in the bomb bay of a Boeing B-29 bomber and released in 7,000 meters. The shape of the fuselage was based on a machine gun projectile of calibre 0.50, which had proven to be stable in its trajectory at extreme speeds.
The record pilot, Air Force Captain Charles E."Chuck" Yeager, named the Bell X-1 after his wife "Glamourous Gennis". Yeager, born in 1923, had previously fought as a pilot during World War II and broke several other aviation records as a test pilot. He was later promoted to general and is still one of the most famous pilots in the USA. His "Glamourous Gennis" is on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington.
The X-1 was equipped with an XLR-11 rocket engine with four chambers and was powered by liquid oxygen and a mixture of alcohol and water. It outperformed the available jet engines, even though the manufacturer Bell Aircraft Corp. already built jet aircrafts and held various patents in this field, which can still be studied in DEPATISnet. The extensive databases of the DPMA enable not only the search for current intellectual property rights but also the search for such historical patents. For example, the US patent "Jet power unit mounting", which Bell applied for in 1946, can be found in DEPATISnet.
Picture: NASA Photos
Last updated: 14/11/18