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Dryden Flight Research Center - Flight Research Milestones 1940's - From Humble Beginnings
February 27, 2011
 

XS-1 on the ramp with the B-29 mothership in 1949. This is the second XS-1 built; it later was converted into the X-1E.XS-1 on the ramp with the B-29 mothership in 1949. This is the second XS-1 built; it later was converted into the X-1E. (NASA Photo) A small, hardy team of determined engineers and technicians, led by Walter C. Williams, traveled from the NACA's Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory (now Langley Research Center) in Hampton, VA to the Muroc Army Airfield (now Edwards AFB) to assist the military in the XS-1 aircraft project and establish a presence at Muroc.

A small, hardy team of determined engineers and technicians, led by Walter C. Williams, traveled from the NACA's Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory (now Langley Research Center) in Hampton, VA to the Muroc Army Airfield (now Edwards AFB) to assist the military in the XS-1 aircraft project and establish a presence at Muroc.

Nov. 14, 1949 - NACA's Muroc unit, with about 100 people, designated NACA High-Speed Flight Research Station (HSFRS). Walt Williams was named Chief of the Station.

Mar. 10, 1948 - Herb Hoover was the first NACA pilot and first civilian to fly supersonically in the X-1.

Nov. 25, 1947 - Howard C. Lilly was first NACA pilot to fly jet-powered D-558-1 Skystreak.

Oct. 14, 1947 - XS-1 exceeded the speed of sound in history's first supersonic flight.

Sept. 7, 1947 - NACA Muroc Flight Test Unit received permanent status from Hugh L. Dryden, NACA's Director of Research. Now numbered 27 people with Walt Williams as Head.

Aug. 20, 1947 - D-558-1 established world speed record of 640.7 miles per hour.

Dec. 9, 1946 - The first successful rocket-powered flight of the X-1 (then designated XS-1), flown by Bell pilot Chalmers Goodlin.

Sept. 30, 1946 - Five NACA engineers, headed by Walt Williams, arrived at Muroc Army Airfield (now Edwards AFB) about this date from Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory, VA, to prepare for X-1 supersonic research flights in joint NACA-Army Air Forces program. First NACA-NASA presence is established at the Mojave Desert site. (Note: Some sources report the arrival of thirteen individuals on Sept. 30, but an early chronology shows only the original 5, with a total of 13 NACA people not present at Muroc until December.)









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