They were the pioneers who trod the territory beyond the sound barrier… a place no man had ever been before and which had killed many who attempted the journey. The rocket powered, winged bullet first flew only 42 years after man’s first powered flight, an achievement that still astounds me. To think that a toddler around at Kitty Hawk who saw one of the Wright Brothers first flights, could have heard the world’s first man made sonic boom before they reached the ripe old age of 50 is a true testament to the ability of America’s finest minds and the bravery of their greatest pilots.


The Bell X1 in flight


The Miles M52


The X Planes


US Military astronaut wings


The X2 drop


The X2 crash


The X15


An X15 launch


Armstrong with the X15


Images under Creative Commons licence with thanks to NASA, the RAF, the USAF, NPRC,