Mach 2 - D-558 and X-2 First Look
|Date of Review||January 2008||Title||Mach 2 - D-558 and X-2|
The US Navy started a high-speed fighter research development program to explore the use of jet engine propulsion in Phase I, a combination of jet and rocket engine in Phase II, and a high speed pre-production prototype in Phase III. This effort was contracted to Douglas Aircraft and became the D-558. Work began in 1945 with the first flight in early 1948. Unfortunately, by the time D-558-I went aloft, Chuck Yeager had already broken the sound barrier with the Bell X-1 and the quest for speed pushed on.
After the end of World War II and well after the design work for the Bell X-1 and Douglas D-558-I had been completed, a wealth of aeronautical research conducted by the Germans had been collected and evaluated. Much of this research dealt with swept wings and their effect on transonic drag and controllability. The Germans had not yet achieved supersonic flight and there were still holes in the research that needed to be filled in light of the X-1.
As a result, Bell moved forward with their X-2 for the USAAF and Douglas developed a completely redesigned D-558-II. Both aircraft still needed to be carried aloft by a mothership and both aircraft conducted their testing at Muroc - what would become Edwards AFB. While Yeager and the USAAF were the first through Mach 1, Scott Crossfield was the first to take the Navy's D-558-II through Mach 2 in late 1953. Captain "Mel" Apt was the first through Mach 3 achieving Mach 3.2 in Sept 1956, but unfortunately lost control of the aircraft at the end of the speed run and both he and his aircraft were lost.
Once again, rocket.aero has collected more than three hours of test footage documenting the flights of these two types as they "pushed the edge of the envelope". As would be expected, with each release from rocket.aero, the presentation, controls, and composition of the DVDs get better. The narration that is provided with the video segments discusses the history, test events, significant events/findings, and other interesting aspects of this era of supersonic test flight.
This is another welcome addition to the video library as this is an aircraft that you don't see that much video or even printed material. This DVD provides a good look at the aircraft and many details, which will come in handy with the Trumpeter RA-5C Vigilante kits.
This video is recommended to all aviation modelers and historians alike! You can order this video directly from rocket.aero by visiting their website at www.rocket.aero
My sincere thanks to rocket.aero for this review sample!