From The Archives: Boeing B-52 Drops North American X-15
Our June 29, 1959, cover showed a North American X-15 "rocker research aircraft" being dropped from a Boeing B-52 on its first free-flight test two weeks earlier near Edwards AFB, California.
The X-15 was released at a speed of Mach 0.80 and glided into a large S-turn by pilot Scott Crossfield to test the effectiveness of its control handling and flaps.
Ultimately three X-15s would be built and make 199 flights. In 1967, one of them achieved a speed of Mach 6.72 - an official record that stands to this day.
Also in that issue (page 20) was a report from the Paris Air Show, which noted that a "spectacular demonstration by the Swedish Saab Draken [fighter] and some inspired flying by French and British aerobatic teams saved tis 23rd International Aeronautical Salon from being just another show."
Enjoy unlimited access to the complete Aviation Week Archive which has over 100 Years of Aviation Week — at your fingertips.
Every issue, every page, every article we have ever published. Your subscription includes full access to the archives, plus current Aviation Week & Space Technology articles (both digital and print packages available).