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North American X-15

North American X-15 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review May 2017 Title North American X-15
Author Peter E. Davies Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2017 ISBN 9781472819918
Format 80 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $20.00


For most folks in the 1950s and 1960s, North American's legendary X-15 remains the greatest "X-Plane" – ever.

The sleek, swarthy stiletto snagged performance records that still stand – helping forge repute that remains today.

Now Osprey recaps the pioneering program in North American X-15 – third in its growing "X-Planes" series.

Hypersonic and exoatmospheric flight – sustained speeds above Mach 5 – required major advances in systems, airframe, propulsion and coatings technologies. Launch and recovery concerns proved equally critical. And author Peter E. Davies dutifully distills most in two informative chapters on X-15 design and development.

Two subsequent sections chronicle X-15 test flights. And a final, fascinating chapter recaps stillborn X-15 derivatives – including delta-wing and orbital proposals.

Extended captions and informative sidebars augment the account. Color and B&W photos, color profiles, and action paintings further support the study. A helpful cut-away aptly illumines the X-15's forward fuselage. And a selected bibliography and index neatly tie things up.

It's also full of fun, fascinating facts. Did you know that X-15 test pilots "ran the risks of hypersonic flight on salaries that were usually half those of airline pilots"? Hardly seems fair!

Make this handy handbook your introduction to the legendary X-15.


My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!