Monday, April 22, 2013

"Knife with a Man in it.."

Future AE talk? One of those aircraft -- one of the incredible series of NACA experimental projects -- that caught our attention as children. It was a futuristic vehicle years ahead of its time although sadly inadequate to the task it was designed for. Nonetheless, it blazed a trail through the skies and provided the groundwork for one of the more interesting fighter aircraft in the USAF inventory:
The Douglas X-3 Stiletto was a 1950s United States experimental jet aircraft with a slender fuselage and a long tapered nose, manufactured by the Douglas Aircraft Company. Its primary mission was to investigate the design features of an aircraft suitable for sustained supersonic speeds, which included the first use of titanium in major airframe components. Douglas designed the X-3 with the goal of a maximum speed of approximately 2,000 m.p.h,[2] but it was, however, seriously underpowered for this purpose and could not even exceed Mach 1 in level flight.[3] Although the research aircraft was a disappointment, Lockheed designers used data from the X-3 tests for the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter which used a similar wing design in a successful Mach 2 fighter.

There is a You Tube Video of the X-3 in flight but embedding has been disabled. You can go here to see it. The video below is probably better and more complete.

The photo above provided by Major John Bezayiff of Civil Air Patrol's Oregon Wing. John was an employee of Douglas and kindly sent me a photo of this aircraft as the result of a conversation we had at the Pacific Region Staff College, 1-6 APR 2013.

Thank you, John!

W. H. Phinizy, MAJ, CAP
Squadron Commander
Squadron 150