Felix Baumgartner breaks sound barrier on same day as Chuck Yeager did it with Bell X-1 rocket-powered airplane on October 14th, 1947! Image credit: Red Bull Stratos, wikimedia
Back on October 14th, 1947, as today, the Bell X1 aircraft, piloted by Air Force Captain Charles “Chuck” Yeager, succeeded the first manned supersonic flight.
The first manned supersonic flight
On 14 October 1947, the Bell X-1 rocket-powered airplane was launched from the bomb bay of a modified B-29 Superfortress bomber, and it glided to a landing on the dry lake. XS-1 flight number 50 is the first one in which the X-1 recorded supersonic flight, at Mach 1.06 (361 m/s, 1,299 km/h, 807.2 mph) peak speed.
The Bell X-1, originally designated XS-1, was a joint NACA-U.S. Army Air Forces-U.S. Air Force supersonic research project built by the Bell Aircraft Company. Conceived in 1944 and designed and built during 1945, it reached nearly 1,000 m.p.h. (1,600 km/h) in 1948. A derivative of this same design, the Bell X-1A, having greater fuel capacity and hence longer rocket burning time, exceeded 1,600 m.p.h. (2,575 km/h) in 1954. The X-1 was the first airplane to exceed the speed of sound in level flight and was the first of the so-called X-planes, an American series of experimental rocket planes designated for testing of new technologies and often kept secret.