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."

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