Cowboy Joe and His Steed
Cowboy Joe (NACA High-Speed Flight Station test pilot Joseph Walker) and his steed (Bell Aircraft Corporation X-1A) are pictured in this 1955 photograph. The X-1A was flown six times by Bell Aircraft Company pilot Jean "Skip" Ziegler in 1953. Air Force test pilots Major Charles "Chuck" Yeager and Major Arthur "Kit" Murray made 18 flights between Nov. 21, 1953 and Aug. 26, 1954. The X-1A was then turned over to NASA's precursor, the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics or NACA. Joe Walker piloted the first NACA flight on July 20, 1955. Walker attempted a second flight on Aug. 8, 1955, but an explosion damaged the aircraft just before launch. Walker, unhurt, climbed back into the JTB-29A mothership, and the X-1A was jettisoned over the Edwards AFB bombing range.
Image Credit: NASA