North American Aviation X-15
This is a "pilot report" manufactured mainly from information in a copy of the X-15 Flight Manual that was last updated on December 29, 1961. Originally I posted it to the rec.aviation and sci.aeronautics newsgroups in the late 1980's. The current edition has some updates to reflect things I've learned since then from other sources: Books, magazines, videos, and even a little bit of personal contact with former X-15 test pilots. It's written in second person, to encourage communication of "this is what you would experience as an X-15 pilot".
Writing as a sailplane (glider) pilot, I like to think of the X-15 as the most radical of all motorgliders. It launched with its own breed of aero-tow, had stupendous performance while under power, and returned as a glider. Admittedly its glide performance had a lot in common with the former top of Mount Saint Hellens -- it was fairly similar to that of the Space Shuttle, an F-104, or a nicely shaped rock.
This pilot report is split into these four parts:
1. X-15 General Description
2. X-15 Cockpit Check
3. X-15 Flight: Heading Out to Launch
4. X-15 Flight: Flying the Mission and Returning
Related to all four sections:
Photo credits and pointers to related resources
In most cases you can click on small images to see large-scale copies of the same images. In some cases the larg-scale image is a different one, chosen to better illustrate things that can't be shown at small scale.
Send questions and comments on the SierraFoot X-15 pages to Paul Raveling.
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