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Research Aircraft: the Bell X-1E, Images by Wernher Krutein and PHOTOVAULT®

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The modification work was performed by Bell Aircraft Corporation and NACA High-Speed Flight Station personnel at the NACA facility at Edwards Air Force Base. It included a new cockpit and canopy
configuration which was required to accommodate the NACA-specified ejection seat, in addition to a new wing. The ejection seat was the surplus seat from the second Northrop X-4, 46-677. Though rocket-propelled, the seat was rudimentary both in design and performance and was considered by NACA officials to be the minimum acceptable design for safe egress. The high-technology wings made by Stanley Aviation
Corporation were only 3 3/8 inches at the thickest point and carried 343 strain and temperature gauges to measure structural loads and aerodynamic heating. Their thinness (4 percent of chord) permitted the X-1E to fly almost twice as fast as the X-1-2. In December 1957 twin ventral fins were installed to improve directional stability at high Mach number.

The X-1E was powered by a Reaction Motors, Inc. LR-8-RM-5, four chamber rocket engine. As with all X-1 rocket engines, this engine did not have a throttle, but instead, depended on ignition of any one chamber or group of chambers to vary speed.

The X-1E, minus its added ventral fins, is mounted on a pylon in front of the main building (4800) at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California.
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