Originally designated the XS-1, the Bell Aircraft X-1 was a joint National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics–U.S. Army Air Forces–U.S. Air Force supersonic research project. It was the first of the X-Planes and there were 7 aircraft built altogether as part of the program.
The aircraft was powered by a rocket engine. It was hauled aloft slung in the bomb bay of a specially modified B-29 bomber. Once the desired altitude was reached, the X-1 was released and the rocket engine ignited. There were a number of glide tests which took place before the first powered flights.
On October 14, 1947, US Air Force X-1 aircraft #46-062 became the first manned airplane to exceed the speed of sound in level flight. Piloted by Captain Chuck Yeager, the aircraft was nicknamed “Glamorous Glennis” after his wife and achieved the speed of Mach 1.06 (700 mph).
Other variants of the aircraft were built to explore aspects of supersonic flight. The X-1A exceeded Mach 2 when on 12 December 1953, Captain Yeager set a new airspeed record of Mach 2.44 (1620 mph) while reaching an altitude of 74,700 feet.
This print depicts the first supersonic flight made by Captain Chuck Yeager.