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X-Plane Aircraft

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X-Plane aircraft are experimental U.S. aircraft given the prefix "X" before their designations. All are experimental aircraft types, including power by propeller, jet, and rocket engines. X-planes can even include rotorcraft.

The first of the X-plane aircraft, beginning with the designation X-1, were aircraft powered by rocket engines, with the intent of going faster than the speed of sound. There were other aircraft which tested vertical take off and landing transitioning to conventional flight. Different wing designs also came under the X-planes program. The latest x-planes have been unmanned high altitude, high speed designs.

If there is an aircraft we should include with our X-planes, please let us know.

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X-Plane Bell X-1
X-Plane Bell X-1

The first x-plane, with rocket power, to achieve supersonic speeds: Bell X-1

Set the unofficial helicopter x-plane speed record: Sikorsky X2

Designed to investigate high speed supersonic flight: Bell X-2

X-plane that investigated long distance supersonic flight: Douglas X-3

Tested the advantages of flight without the use of a horizontal stabilizer of elevator: Northrop X-4

X-plane that tested variable sweep wings: Bell X-5

Proposed x-plane, that never came to fruition, to test nuclear powered aircraft engines: Convair X-6

X-plane testing ramjet engine technology for missiles: Lockheed X-7

Rocket launching low earth orbit satellites: Aerojet General X-8

Anti-aircraft prototype missile: Bell X-9

Long range missile, launched from the ground, to be used against surface targets: North American X-10

Test bed for the Atlas missile: Convair X-11

Test bed for the Atlas B two stage missile: Convair X-12

X-plane that tested the concept of vertical take off and landing by a jet: Ryan X-13

First x-plane involved with testing thrust vectoring jet engines:  Bell X-14

Fastest ever manned x-plane: North American X-15

Concept x-plane that was proposed to test observation from the upper atmosphere, but never built: Bell X-16

Rocket powered x-plane built to test the thermodynamics of vehicles entering the earth's atmosphere at high speeds: Lockheed X-17

X-Plane Hiller X-18
X-Plane Hiller X-18

Tilt wing x-plane that led to important discoveries about the transition from vertical to horizontal flight: Hiller X-18

X-plane with tilt rotors that had two propellers driven by a single engine: Curtiss Wright X-19

Predecessor to the space shuttle, a non-flying proof of concept design: Boeing X-20

Test aircraft for wing planforms which increased lift and lessened drag: Northrop X-21

Tilt rotor x-plane, testing the concept of ducted fans: Bell X-22

X-plane designed to test the concept of long distance maneuverability while re-entering the earth's atmosphere: Martin Marietta X-23

X-plane used to test the concept of the aircraft's fuselage to generate lift, particularly when re-entering the earth's atmosphere: Martin Marietta X-24

Basically a rotor controlled ejection seat designed to allow for increased maneuverability over parachutes for emergency aircraft ejection. It was never built: Benson X-25

Motor glider testing the concepts of use as a trainer before proceeding to high performance jet aircraft: Schweizer X-26

X-plane, never completed, that was intended to be a test bed for high performance turbojet engines: Lockheed X-27

Single seat seaplane that the U.S. Navy evaluated as a patrol aircraft: Osprey X-28

Unique forward swept wing jet powered x-plane: X-29

Concept space vehicle using a single stage to achieve low earth orbit, somewhat resembling today's SpaceShip One: Rockwell X-30

X-plane testing the advantages of jet thrust vectoring: Rockwell X-31

Competitor in the joint strike fighter program with what was to become the F-35: Boeing X-32

Lifting body design single stage orbital vehicle: Lockheed X-33

Drone reusable single state launch vehicle: Orbital Sciences X-34

X-plane jet that became the F-35: Lockheed X-35

A 28 percent scale radio control drone used to test the flight characteristics of aircraft without vertical stabilizers and rudders: McDonnell Douglas X-36

Reusable drone that tests high speed orbital re-entry technologies: Boeing X-37

Aircraft being evaluated for the practicality of bringing back crews from orbiting space stations: NASA X-38

X-plane drone re-entry vehicle test platform for manned reusable re-entry vehicles: Boeing X-40

Fastest successful "air breathing engine" drone: NASA X-43A Scramjet

Stealthy x-planes without rudders, elevators, or ailerons, to be guided by thrust vectoring, dropped due to lack of funding: Lockheed Martin X-44

Scaled down drone stealthy experimental aircraft to be used for combat missions: Boeing X-45

Stealthy full scale drone attack experimental aircraft for ship-board use by the U.S. Navy: Northrop Grumman X-47

Fastest single engine turboprop x-plane: XA2D Skyshark

First twin engine dedicated ground attack aircraft to be tested flown by the U.S. Army: Curtiss XA-14

Twin radial engine prototype ground attack aircraft fitted with a 75mm cannon and twin 12.7 mm machine guns in the nose that first flew in May of 1944. The aircraft met or exceeded all specifications, was reliable and easily serviced. However, it used the same engines as the B-29 bomber. The bomber had priority, so the project was canceled: Beechcraft XA-38

X-plane bomber that was the largest U.S. aircraft at the time of its first flight: Douglas XB-19

X-plane flying wing bomber: Northrop XB-35

Four turbojet engine prototype bomber that first flew in 1947. After some basic problems were resolved it went on to become the first U.S.A.F. multi-jet powered bombing aircraft: North American XB-45

Four turbojet engine prototype jet bomber, test flown for only five months in 1947, that easily maintained its course and heading, while responding well to control inputs. However the aircraft was subject to rapid upward and downward pitching when its spoilers were deployed. There were also a number of minor development issues discovered during test flights. However, before these could be resolved, the project was canceled due to the introduction of more modern aircraft: Convair XB-46

X-plane bomber that combined jet and turboprop power: Boeing XB-47D

Six jet engine prototype medium bombers. Two test aircraft were produced, the first flying in June of 1947. The unswept wing aircraft did not measure up to other jet aircraft of its time and never went into production: Martin XB-48

One of the largest and fastest x-planes ever to fly: XB-70 Valkyrie

X-plane transport that was one of the largest airplanes in the world: XC-99

The first ever U.S.Navy pure jets to land on an aircraft carrier: XFD-1 Phantom

X-plane that was the first ever to take off and land on its tail vertically: XFY Pogo

One of the most unusual-looking aircraft to ever fly, known as the flying pancake: XF5U

X-planes which used two Mustang fuselages and a new wing to make a new fighter aircraft: XF-82

Turboprop x-planes, so loud they were nicknamed "Thunderscreech": Republic XF-84H

Tiny prototype jet fighter with wings which folded to a five foot length: XF-85 Goblin

U.S. Air Force prototype jet fighter with it's air intake located on top of the fuselage: XF-107

Navalized tail dragger version of the P-39, being developed for the U.S. Navy, it first flew in May of 1940. However, engine reliability, plus a weak landing gear limited its testing program. Before the issues could be resolved, other higher performing aircraft became available, and the project was canceled: Bell XFL Airabonita

One of the largest aircraft of its time and the first U.S. six engine prototype strategic bomber: Witteman Lewis XNBL-1

X-planes which pushed the ultimate limits of piston fighter development: XP-72 Super Thunderbolt